After the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, on May 4, advocates for people who live with chronic pain expressed their disappointment on behalf of their members. Below are portions of the statements of four pain advocacy groups.
U.S. Pain Foundation
The U.S. Pain Foundation is gravely concerned about its members who will lose their healthcare coverage or will face steep increases for pre-existing medical conditions if the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 prevails as law. Today’s action in the House marks unchartered territory for millions of Americans who rely on the existing healthcare system to receive essential and life-saving treatments.
“As an organization, we do see room for improvement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in more affordable premiums. However, the AHCA is not that outcome. We cannot sit quietly while lawmakers push through a bill which would force millions of people living with chronic pain into a situation where prescription treatment options and therapeutic services are unattainable,” said president and founder of U.S. Pain, Paul Gileno. “It’s a sad day when the concerns of profit comes before the concerns of those in need of quality health coverage.”
We are concerned that the bill threatens access to affordable care for the chronically ill, including those who live with arthritis.
As the Senate considers the AHCA, we will work to amend the bill to make it truly patient-centered, but we need your help to send the message to legislators that the AHCA, as it sits today, is unacceptable for the 54 million Americans who live with arthritis, and the many more who have other chronic illnesses.
“The American Health Care Act could remove requirements that protect my access to certain benefits like prescription drugs, which will make it harder, if not impossible, for me to manage my condition,” said Anna Legassie, patient and Arthritis Foundation Advocate. “I need to count on regular, timely, specialized care to keep my arthritis under control and remain a contributing member of society. People with arthritis live with uncertainty every day – such as worrying about having a flare or being able to get out of bed and go to work. Whether I can count on having access to the doctors and treatments that I need and being able to afford my treatment shouldn’t be another area of uncertainty. I urge Congress to keep working on this until they get it right.”
The Arthritis Foundation also answers several questions about the bill, how it might change your coverage, costs, and access to medical care.
National Organization for Rare Disorders
We are very disappointed the House pursued and passed this legislation, and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent this legislation as it is currently written from being enacted.
The AHCA jeopardizes the health and wellbeing of rare-disease patients across the country. The bill allows states to opt-out of critical pre-existing conditions protections, including the prohibition on annual and lifetime caps and community rating.
Community rating prohibits insurers from charging individuals higher premiums based on health status. Without a community rating, pre-existing conditions protections are rendered moot, as insurance companies will once again be capable of charging higher premiums to those with pre-existing health conditions. Community rating is essential to maintaining access to quality and affordable healthcare coverage for rare-disease patients.
National MS Society
The National MS Society is bitterly disappointed by the outcome of today’s House vote in support of the American Health Care Act. People living with MS and their families will be significantly harmed if the American Health Care Act becomes law and will surely be among those to lose coverage and care as tax credits are slashed, Medicaid is weakened, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions are eroded. The Society has and will continue to advocate for improvements to health coverage that meet the needs of people with MS.
Bari Talente, Executive VP of Advocacy for the Society stated, “This vote brings uncertainty for people with MS and others with pre-existing conditions whose wellbeing — and sometimes, lives — depend on affordable and comprehensive coverage. The Society is extremely disappointed to see the House pass legislation that jeopardizes coverage and care for those with MS and relies on underfunded and failed insurance experiments — like high-risk pools. This measure will increase the number of uninsured Americans by more than 20 million and substantially weaken Medicaid. That is unacceptable and moves our country backward, not forward.”
People with MS can only live their best lives with the assurance of access to prescription drugs that delay disease progression and disability, rehabilitation therapies to help maintain function and prevent falls, symptom management, professional medical and mental health services, mobility devices and more. These are components of high quality MS care that are currently included in the essential health benefits now put at risk by the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Also at risk are critical protections including annual caps on out-of-pocket costs, plus prohibitions against lifetime and annual caps on benefits.