The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every American. As Congress plans for another COVID-19 package, we need your voice to ensure it includes issues that will protect and support cancer patients.
On behalf of the estimated 279,100 women and men in the United States who will be diagnosed with breast cancer and the more than 42,690 who will die from the disease in 2020 alone, we are asking Congress to include the following in the next relief package:
Implement Chemotherapy Parity – Cancer patients, not insurance companies, should make choices about their care, especially during a public health crisis. Congress must include the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R.1730/S.741), which enables cancer patients to maintain their treatment regimens at home and alleviates significant cost-sharing burdens, precisely at a time when many Americans are experiencing economic hardship.
Declare Clinical Trials for Treatments for Life-Threatening Conditions as Essential – Given the mortality associated with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), delaying or no longer accruing new patients in clinical trials for even a few months could have serious consequences or even be fatal. While we understand the need for health care facilities to postpone non-essential services to maintain capacity for people with urgent health care needs, clinical trials often afford breast cancer patients the best options to treat their cancers. A delay of only a few months could have serious health consequences or even be fatal.
Open Healthcare.gov Enrollment and Increase Medicaid Funding – 5.4 Million Americans lost health insurance between February and May this year, including many cancer patients. Research shows that cancer patients may forego screenings and treatment when they lack insurance coverage. Congress must act to require that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initiate a special enrollment period and related educational campaign, and increase Medicaid funding to ensure anyone needing coverage has access to care.
Address Surprise Medical Billing – Surprise medical billing causes uncertainty and financial hardship for Americans every day. We urge Congress to address this issue and permanently end all surprise medical billing, protecting patients from financial harm as part of broader bipartisan efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expand Paid Leave – Congress should expand eligibility for the paid family and medical leave program to include individuals determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be at high risk for adverse complications from COVID-19 and the working members of their households, as cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.