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Today the Colon Cancer Alliance joins with hundreds of other patient advocacy groups and medical professional associations in opposing the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that is currently under consideration in the House of Representatives. The Alliance calls on Congress to discontinue debate on this bill.  Instead Congress must engage with the broad health community to draft legislation that meaningfully improves access to care by increasing the number of Americans who have health insurance. “The Alliance’s mission is to prevent colon cancer and increase the survival rate of patients with the disease. Having health insurance is a leading predictor of whether or not a patient survives a cancer diagnosis,” said Colon Cancer Alliance CEO Michael Sapienza, “we are absolutely opposed to any legislation that will result in millions losing coverage.  This isn’t about politics, it is about saving lives.” The independent Congressional Budget Office predicts that under the AHCA 14 million Americans will lose coverage next year and that number will rise to 24 million within a decade.  Premiums will be 15 to 20 percent higher next year than under the current Affordable Care Act, but by 2026 premiums would be 10% lower.  The AHCA also dramatically and disproportionately impacts low income and older Americans who would be priced out of the health insurance market.

The AHCA is also a tax plan.  According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, those in the top 1% of earners will get an average tax break of $37,240 while dramatically decreasing premium support for older, low-income Americans. The Colon Cancer Alliance believes urgent action is needed to address problems in today’s health care financing system, particularly the challenges facing the insurance exchange market.  Congress needs to develop meaningful healthcare access legislation, not a bill that robs coverage from our nation’s most vulnerable. Rather than crafting legislation in isolation, Congress should engage the stake holders in our health care system, most importantly patient advocacy groups so that the voices and concerns of those ultimately impacted by this health legislation is included in its development. There are solutions to health care financing in America, but the Colon Cancer Alliance strongly believes that the AHCA is not it. Congress needs to hear from patients about the proposed AHCA now, more than ever.  Please Speak Up and Speak Out! photo credit: Gage Skidmore U.S. Capitol building via photopin (license)

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