AHA, American Cancer Society and 9 others release joint position on healthcare reform

Eleven patient advocacy groups highlighted their concerns and the specific goals they would like Congress to consider while drafting the proposed repeal and replace plan for the ACA.

The coalition includes the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the diabetes research foundation JDRF, March of Dimes, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the National Organization for Rare Disorders and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women and Heart Disease.

Here are six things to know about their joint position.

1. The coalition will evaluate any proposed changes to the nation's healthcare system according to the jointly devised set of expectations outlined in the organizations' Consensus Health Care Reform Principles.

2. According to the organizations, they will not support a healthcare plan which "jeopardize[s] the healthcare coverage Americans currently have through [their] employers, the marketplace, Medicaid or Medicare." Any new plan would ideally further the goals outlined in the ACA, extending coverage to the uninsured or underinsured, lowering costs and improving the quality of care available for all individuals.

3. Patients, according to the coalition, should have access to affordable coverage, which includes reasonable premiums, cost sharing and out-of-pocket limits. The government should be willing to provide financial assistance to lower-income individuals and working families.

4. Patients with preexisting conditions should not be faced with the challenge of higher premiums in addition to obtaining coverage. Any proposed regulation should aim to maintain the ban on preexisting condition exclusions, lifetime and annual caps and additional patient protections that have been treated as fundamental aspects of health insurance coverage by past administrations, according to the organizations.

5. The organizations also propose any potential reform plan must emphasize the importance of prevention, which "results in longer and healthier lives for patients," and should "provide needed health benefits with an adequate network of providers."

6. The eleven organizations said they are eager to "work with Congress, the administration and the broader health community" to achieve their shared goals.

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