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ASH President Responds to House Passage of American Health Care Act

(WASHINGTON, May 4, 2017) — American Society of Hematology (ASH) President Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, issued the following statement in response to this afternoon’s passage of the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). 

“Since the early days of health care reform, ASH has remained committed to supporting access to affordable, high-quality health care for all Americans. We are deeply disappointed that the U.S. House of Representatives today passed a bill that would price the oldest and sickest Americans out of affordable health insurance coverage by waiving requirements for community rating and age rating, scaling back funding for Medicaid — a vital lifeline for many with blood diseases like sickle cell disease and hemophilia —and permitting states to opt out of requiring coverage for essential health benefits. As the Senate picks up this reform package, ASH calls on lawmakers to ensure that the following principles are reflected in the final bill:

  • ASH opposes any measures that discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions or that impose lifetime benefit limits.
  • 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.”

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
[email protected]; 202-552-4927