MDA Joins with Nine Patient Advocacy Organizations to Respond to Release of Revised Legislative Draft of Senate Health Care Reform

This week, MDA joined with nine other patient advocacy organizations – including American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes and National Organization for Rare Disorders – to respond to the Senate’s newly-released draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

In our role as a nonpartisan organization, we are focused on ensuring that any new health care legislation contains provisions necessary for adequate coverage for MDA families. In March, MDA signed on to an agreement that outlined the Principles of Coverage, which explain that health insurance coverage must be affordable, accessible, adequate and understandable.

The current draft of the legislation does not, we feel, meet our standards as it contains provisions in the bill that are contrary to our principles. MDA will continue to work with members of Congress to share the importance of the principles of coverage. At this time, there is still opportunity to make changes to the legislation and for members to work together in a bipartisan way.

In particular, the BCRA draft released this week includes an amendment that would allow insurance companies to offer plans not in compliance with critical patient protections in current law. MDA and the coalition of patient advocacy organizations, representing millions of Americans, issued the following statement:

Under the amendment, insurance companies would be allowed to charge higher premiums to people based on their health status—in addition to opting out of other patient protections in current law, such as the guarantee of essential health benefits and the prohibition on annual and lifetime coverage caps. Separating healthy enrollees from those with pre-existing conditions will also lead to severe instability of the insurance market. This is unacceptable for our patients.

Even without this amendment, the revised underlying legislation would still be devastating for patients everywhere – an infant diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a woman who has experienced postpartum depression, or an adult who develops cancer. Millions of people who battle chronic diseases or disabilities, like heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes, would be negatively impacted by this legislation. Patients need a health care bill that does not jeopardize their access to necessary treatments and care.

We urge Congress to defeat the BCRA as written and any other bill that fails to protect patients’ access to affordable, accessible, and adequate health care coverage.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
American Diabetes Association
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
March of Dimes
Muscular Dystrophy Association
National Health Council
National Organization for Rare Disorders
WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease