Jul. 26, 2017
Posted by Christina Jensen
The new administration and Congress are re-examining the United States health insurance system with the goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act, and replacing it with a new system.
July 26, 2017
Yesterday, the Senate voted 51 to 50 to move forward with debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is concerning because every proposal put forward publicly so far does not adhere to our Principles for Health Coverage Reform.
Following this vote to move forward, the Senate considered a version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which failed by a 57 to 43 margin. As you remember, this bill would lower Medicaid funding by nearly $800 billion over the next ten years, rollback critically important protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and result in 22 million fewer individuals with health insurance by 2026. We thank the 57 Senators who chose to vote against this proposal.
Today, the Senate will continue considering alternatives to repeal the ACA. One of those alternatives is a bill to repeal the ACA without replacing it, a proposal that we are opposed to. This legislation would result in 32 million fewer individuals insured by 2026, and would abruptly end Medicaid expansion and exchange subsidies two years from enactment when the bill would take effect. The vote on this bill is not expected to succeed.
Another rumored alternative from Senate leadership is a “skinny repeal” that would be voted on by the end of the week. This bill would purportedly repeal only a handful of provisions within the ACA, most notably the individual mandate and employer mandate.
This proposal also does not adhere to our principles. Without an incentive for healthy individuals to sign up for health insurance, the private marketplaces will only attract those with complex and expensive medical conditions, causing premiums to rise drastically and potentially igniting an insurance “death spiral” that collapses the market.
These are the proposals on the table that we are aware of as of early this afternoon, and each would be harmful to the rare disease community.
This is why we need you to keep calling, tweeting, posting on Facebook, or however you best communicate with your Senator. Your Senator will decide exactly what to support or oppose in the next few days, and they need to hear your voice.
July 18, 2017
NORD signs on to coalition statement opposing straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act. More.
July 13, 2017
July 13, 2017
July 12, 2017
NORD signs on to a coalition letter expressing concern about the Cruz Amendment to the BCRA. More.
June 27, 2017
June 22, 2017
June 19, 2017
Over the next two weeks, NORD will provide daily advocacy opportunities for patients and families to make their voices heard while Senators deliberate on whether or not to support billions of dollars of cuts to Medicaid and an erosion of critical patient protections. The campaign will urge Senators to protect lifesaving healthcare for the millions of children and adults with rare diseases. Learn More.
May 4, 2017
NORD Issues Statement on Today’s Passage of the American Health Care Act. More.
May 1, 2017
NORD Issues Statement Opposing ‘MacArthur Amendment’ the latest version of the American Health Care Act. More.
May 1, 2017
NORD joins coalition of leading patient advocacy groups to oppose the American Health Care Act. More.
March 24, 2017
Update (4:40 p.m.): Thank you to everyone who called their members of Congress today! We made our voices heard by asking our elected officials to vote “no” on the AHCA because of the negative impact it would have on the 30 million Americans with rare diseases. As the health care system continues to evolve, NORD will be there to continue our work with legislators and patient advocates to stand up for the health care coverage of our patients.
Urgent Call to Action (12:25 p.m.): We need your help today! The latest version of the American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement for Obamacare, removes protections against lifetime limits and annual caps. This would be devastating for individuals with rare diseases; medically necessary prescription drugs and medical care would go uncovered and patients could be denied coverage altogether.
The House is scheduled to vote TODAY. Please take a minute to phone your congressperson and ask him or her to vote no! (click).
As background, last night, Congressional Republicans agreed to move forward with an amendment to the AHCA that would turn the determination of Essential Health Benefits over to the states. The Affordable Care Act eliminated annual and lifetime caps, but only for services that fell in the ten EHB categories. These categories are comprehensive and effectively eliminate these caps for medically necessary care.
If the EHBs are turned over to states, states could choose to allow insurers to once again set annual and lifetime caps on medically necessary services for rare disease patients by only mandating coverage of certain EHBs. We strongly oppose this measure as it is unacceptable to once again expose rare disease patients to these draconian caps.
March 16, 2017
NORD’s policy team took to Facebook Live to answer questions from the rare disease community on the Affordable Care Act and its proposed replacement, the American Health Care Act, in the context of NORD’s principles for health coverage reform.
March 14, 2017
CALL TO ACTION: Take a minute to phone your legislators and tell Congress to protect our care! The American Health Care Act, the proposed replacement for Obamacare, includes several provisions that may jeopardize care for rare disease patients. The bill weakens Medicaid by capping Federal contributions to states, likely leading to limits on care and coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries. The bill halts new sign ups for Medicaid expansion in 2020, and rolls back Federal Medicaid assistance for skilled care at home.
In addition, the bill replaces key incentives for the healthy to buy insurance with methods that could punish people for going uninsured for any reason, as well as dramatically limits financial assistance for low-income individuals looking to buy insurance.
March 8, 2017
In advance of today’s hearings on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), NORD issued a statement in which we said, “We wish to emphasize our commitment to assisting Congress and the Administration as they navigate ACA repeal and replacement. We do not support the American Health Care Act at this time, but with continued dialogue and collaboration, we hope to be able to support legislation that improves the lives and wellbeing of rare disease patients.” Read NORD’s full statement here.
March 7, 2017
Yesterday evening, House Republicans released the American Health Care Act, their proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act. NORD is in the process of analyzing the bill and assessing its effects on rare disease patients using our Principles for Healthcare Reform that we published last week. Our analysis and position statement will be released later this week.
March 6, 2017
As Congress begins debate on how to improve the nation’s health care system, NORD joined a coalition of major patient groups and outlined key elements believed to be necessary to provide affordable, accessible and adequate coverage for all Americans. We were proud to join these patient advocacy groups in outlining these overarching positions on health care reform. Learn more here.
February 28, 2017
To ensure that any ACA replacement plan will not harm rare disease patients, NORD has developed a principles document that outlines what the plan must do to protect the healthcare coverage of rare disease patients.
We will use the principles document to help educate legislators and in our meetings on Capitol Hill and hope fellow advocates will find the document useful. We look forward to training advocates on these principles in Washington, D.C. this week for Rare Disease Day.
February 9, 2017
In efforts to protect the healthcare coverage of rare disease patients, NORD submitted a letter to Congress emphasizing the importance of rare disease patient insurance protections found in the Affordable Care Act. Read the full letter here.
January 30, 2017
Annual and lifetime limits on coverage can deeply affect the rare disease community. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans are prohibited from placing such limits on benefits. We at NORD are working to protect your coverage, and in doing so we would like to know more about the impact annual and lifetime limits had on your lives before the ACA was enacted.
Have you or someone you know been affected by annual or lifetime limits? If so, we ask that you please share these stories with us, so that we can better protect your coverage. Click here to share your experience with NORD.
January 10, 2017
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has offered up high risk pools as a way to increase health coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, 35 states utilized high risk pools as a way to provide subsidized health insurance to those who had otherwise been denied affordable coverage in the non-employer based market due to a pre-existing condition. Additionally, the federal government ran its own version of a high risk pool while the ACA was being implemented, known as the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP).
We are currently working to assess the impact of high risk pools, and determine the effect they might have on the rare disease community, but we need your help. Have you or someone you know had an experience with high risk pools? If so, please share it with us. We want to know how high risk pools have impacted your lives so that we in turn can be best suited to advocate on your behalf.