The 115th Congress and the incoming administration have made it a priority to “repeal and replace” the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislative process will be protracted, include input from multiple stakeholders, and cover far reaching parts of the healthcare system. At this uncertain time, it is important to avoid being caught up in partisan politics and the sheer scope of the overall debate. In order to ensure this process leads to meaningful patient-centered outcomes, the patient care community must rally around specific recommendations and work to sensitize legislators to the value and importance of advancing proposals that incorporate these items.
The Message to Congress
- First and foremost, do not repeal the ACA without a well-crafted and well-thought out replacement ready that has been vetted by stakeholders.
- Secondly, there are critical patient protections with bipartisan support that must be part of any modifications to the healthcare system. Lawmakers need to understand that the following “four pillars” are absolutely essential to patients and their families, and must be included in any relevant proposals or legislation.
- Pillar 1: Prohibit pre-existing condition discrimination. Individuals must be able to equitably access comprehensive healthcare coverage regardless of their health status, diagnosis, and related factors.
- Pillar 2: Prohibit lifetime and annual caps on insurance benefits. Any individual that purchases healthcare coverage must not be able to outspend that coverage and expose themselves to additional, unaffordable fees.
- Pillar 3: Allow children to stay on family coverage until they are 26. Families with affected members face unique and serious financial challenges and prolonged stability is essential.
- Pillar 4: Limit out-of-pocket costs for patients. Enacting and preserving no- nonsense restrictions that cap out-of-pocket costs is the best way to keep coverage equitable and accessible to all.
Take Action In 3 Easy Steps
1. Find Your Elected Officials
- Secure the contact information for your two Senators and one Representative by visiting www.Senate.gov and www.House.gov.
- Call the office and ask for the Health Legislative Assistant. You can either leave a voicemail or request their e-mail address and send them a message using the template on the next page.
- Politely and occasionally follow up on the request. You should have an expectation that the office will respond to your specific concerns.
- If you would like to do more, you can request a brief meeting with the staff at your members’ local offices (the location information is on their websites).
2. Deliver the Message
3. Tell Us About Your Action
It helps our efforts when we can share stories and numbers of actions with legislators. Please complete this form and let us know how your action went.