Executive Order on Access to Health Care In Fact Threatens Patient Access to High-Quality

Statement by ASCO President Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO
For immediate release
October 13, 2017

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Melissa Lee
(571) 483-1661

“The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has grave concerns about the Trump Administration’s executive order calling in part for federal rules to encourage association health plans. The means to achieve ASCO’s core mission requires that patients with cancer have meaningful access to high-quality care. The changes called for in this order will weaken such access by compromising existing protections for cancer prevention and screening services and by threatening adequate health insurance coverage for Americans who may be older or dealing with a serious illness, including many patients with cancer.

“If the order is implemented as envisioned, many association health plans—formed by groups of small businesses that pool together to buy health insurance—would not be required to cover essential health benefits including cancer screenings. ASCO’s guiding principles for healthcare reform specifically urge policymakers to promote and protect cancer prevention and screening services, as they are key to reducing cancer mortality.

“Additionally, expanding association plans, as well as another component of the order expanding short-term policies – allowing younger and healthier people to move out of individual marketplaces and into less expensive insurance alternatives - may result in dramatic increases in coverage costs that price some sicker or older patients out of health insurance coverage altogether. This would significantly undermine ASCO’s first principle for healthcare reform that all Americans should have access to affordable and sufficient healthcare coverage regardless of their income or health status.

“Individuals with cancer who do not have adequate health insurance coverage are diagnosed with more advanced cancers, receive care later in their disease course, have less access to needed medical care, and have worse outcomes than those with better coverage. We urge policymakers to maintain robust requirements to ensure that all reforms align with ASCO’s principles and cover the full scope of services needed by patients with cancer. On behalf of all Americans, ASCO will continue to work with the Administration and Congress on meaningful healthcare reform that improves cancer care for all.”  

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About ASCO: 

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents more than 40,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at www.ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.