Health Care Reform Must Be a Bipartisan Effort

health care reform Health care reform efforts will impact all Americans, including those living with neuromuscular disease. MDA has for months been urging policy makers that any effort to change the current system must be addressed in a non-partisan and collaborative way, and we now publicly call on Congress and the administration to move forward in this spirit. We also thank those who have demonstrated the courage and leadership to suggest a bipartisan approach.

Many people living with progressive diseases that significantly impact health, such as muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy and other neuromuscular diseases, rely on the health care coverage and protections guaranteed by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). And while this law has had many positive impacts in terms of coverage, the current system can still be improved, particularly by seeking solutions that would reduce costs and help stabilize the individual health insurance marketplace.

While there is room for meaningful improvement in both private sector insurance and Medicaid programs, modifying the current state of health care coverage cannot, and should not, be subject to decision making strictly along party lines.

Early this year MDA joined in developing and advocating for a set of principles that are essential components of any successful health care reform plan. These principles set out the coverage requirements necessary to meet the unique health needs of populations who rely significantly on the health care system. We have and will continue to urge policy makers to work together to ensure that the future state of health care coverage is consistent with these principles, and that the health and well being of their constituents and the American public are front of mind.

The legislation promoted in the House and Senate over the past months contains provisions contrary to the principles of coverage and were projected (according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office) to result in more than 20 million people losing coverage. As written, these bills were not the answer for health and well being of the neuromuscular disease community.

Additionally, Senate leadership proposed voting this week on an ACA repeal motion — without a replacement legislation in place. Such an action is unacceptable as it would roll back critical protections, including those that ensure people living with pre-existing conditions can obtain health care insurance, and potentially destabilize the insurance markets.

Yesterday, we joined with 14 other patient organizations to urge Congress to reject the concept of repealing the ACA without also putting in place replacement legislation and to move forward with bipartisan discussions on ways to improve the current system. As of today, the repeal-only effort has stalled, but we remain committed to advocating that our representatives join together to determine how the health care system can and should operate. The health care and the well being of the American public cannot be a partisan issue.

We look forward to continuing to work with Congress and the administration on any efforts to change the current state of health care in the U.S. and appreciate the leadership of those policy makers and community leaders who are urging a bipartisan approach. We also appreciate the efforts of all advocates who have shared the principles of coverage with their members of Congress and who have urged bipartisan discussions. 

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