ASTRO opposes threats to coverage in draft Senate health care bill

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The Chair of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) David C. Beyer, MD, FASTRO, issued the following statement opposing Senate Republicans’ health care plan released June 22:

“ASTRO appreciates efforts by Congressional Republicans to provide Americans with access to affordable coverage; we clearly recognize that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has shortcomings. However, we are very concerned that the Senate Republican “Better Care Reconciliation Act” released [June 22] would put too many cancer patients at too great a risk of losing access to the care they need and deserve.

“While the Senate legislation includes stronger protections than the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA), we still believe the Senate bill falls short of ASTRO’s principles of health care reform. Specifically, the bill fails to protect patients by not ensuring coverage of essential health benefits, including radiation therapy, and makes drastic cuts to the critical Medicaid program. If the bill is passed as drafted, coverage would be lost for many of America’s 15 million cancer patients, including those who rely on safety net programs such as Medicaid and have gained coverage under the ACA. This loss would disrupt essential cancer care services and create undue financial burdens on patients facing the fight of their lives.

“For many patients, coverage can be the difference between a cure and dying from cancer. Radiation oncologists nationwide report that recent coverage expansions have allowed for earlier cancer diagnosis and more effective treatment of many more Americans than in the past. We should accelerate these lifesaving advances, not step back.

“ASTRO encourages Senators to vote against this bill and work together to address the serious issues facing cancer patients and to ensure all Americans have high-quality health coverage.”

ASTRO also sent a letter outlining its opposition to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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ASTRO opposes threats to coverage in draft Senate health care bill.  Appl Rad Oncol. 

By News Release| June 23, 2017
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