ASH President Expresses Disappointment with Senate Health Care Bill
(WASHINGTON, June 23, 2017) — American Society of Hematology (ASH) President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, issued the following statement in response to the introduction of the United States Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act.
“Our lawmakers’ continued efforts to scale back health protections afforded to Americans runs directly counter to ASH’s mission of furthering prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of some of the most serious and costly disorders patients face. ASH is deeply disappointed that the U.S. Senate, like the U.S. House of Representatives previously, is considering a bill that would price the oldest, poorest, and sickest Americans out of affordable health insurance coverage. The Society cannot support legislation that allows states to waive and redefine essential health benefits, roll back and cut Medicaid funding — a vital lifeline for many with chronic and debilitating blood diseases like sickle cell disease and hemophilia — and increase the amount that seniors can be charged for coverage. We also cannot support legislation that would eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which would result in a 12 percent cut to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We call on lawmakers to protect patients’ access to care and to adhere to the following principles when considering health reform legislation:
- ASH opposes any measures that discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions or that impose lifetime benefit limits.
- ASH stands against efforts to shift Medicaid funding to block grant or per capita programs.
- ASH urges that protections be included to ensure that consumers understand their coverage options.
- ASH encourages efforts to combat high drug prices by supporting legislation that provides for insurance parity between patient-administered and intravenous chemotherapy, curtails out-of-pocket expenses, and limits the cost of drugs placed into specialty insurance tiers.
- ASH seeks thoughtful consideration in tackling the opioid epidemic while avoiding unintended consequences that unnecessarily punish patients with chronic diseases, such as sickle cell disease and cancer.
- ASH recognizes the importance of coverage for ambulatory, emergency, hospital, and laboratory services in properly and effectively diagnosing and treating patients with hematologic malignancies and chronic hematologic diseases throughout all stages of their care.
- ASH opposes any move that would waive individual states’ compliance with the above protections.
- ASH opposes any efforts to curb or eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund
The American Society of Hematology (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH publishes Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is available weekly in print and online. In 2016, ASH launched Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org), an online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.
Stephen Fitzmaurice American Society of Hematology