The COVID-19 related policies that have already been enacted will help our nation’s families and businesses, including nonprofits, adjust to these difficult times, but more is needed! As congress plans for a fourth COVID-19 package, we need to ensure that it includes legislation 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 – Including the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R.1730/S.741) in the next relief package, could significantly assist cancer patients in maintaining their treatment regimens while staying home and practicing social distancing. Outdated insurance benefit design shouldn’t lead to patients having a significant cost-sharing burden, precisely at a time when many Americans are experiencing economic hardship.
Declare Clinical Trials for Treatments for Life-Threatening Conditions to be Essential – 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, especially those with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), the best options to treat their cancers. Given the mortality associated with MBC and the lack of clinical treatment options, if a clinical trial were to be delayed or stop accruing new patients for even a few months during the COVID-19 emergency, it could have serious consequences or even be fatal.
Open Healthcare.gov Enrollment – We ask that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) immediately initiate a 60-day special enrollment period and carry out an educational campaign to ensure the public is aware of the special enrollment period. A federal special enrollment period must be established to ensure that anyone seeking coverage can have access. Where you live should not determine your ability to access health care, especially at this time of national crisis.
Address Surprise Medical Billing – Surprise medical billing causes uncertainty and financial hardship for Americans every day. We urge Congress to enact legislation to permanently end all surprise medical billing and to protect patients from financial harm as part of broader bipartisan efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expand Paid Leave – As another step to promote financial protections for Americans, we are asking Congress to 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 working members of their households, as cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.