Less than a week after JDRF representatives and volunteers held nearly 500 Government Day meetings on Capitol Hill to discuss health reform and T1D priorities, JDRF joined with other nonpartisan patient groups to issue a set of shared principles for Congress as it considers changes to the Affordable Care Act this week. The organizations include American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders, Women Heart, the National Coalition for Women and Heart Disease, as well as JDRF.
The goals outlined by the patient organizations align closely with the recently issued JDRF Principles for Health Reform, which include protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, prohibiting dollar limits for essential health benefits and closing the donut hole in Medicare Part D.
You can view the list of consensus principles below. To learn more, and to contact your Member of Congress about health reform, visit: http://www.jdrf.org/get-involved/jdrf-advocacy/healthcare-reform/.
Consensus Healthcare Reform Principles
Today, millions of individuals, including many with preexisting health conditions, can obtain affordable healthcare coverage. Any changes to current law should preserve coverage for these individuals, extend coverage to those who remain uninsured, and lower costs and improve quality for all.
In addition, any reform measure must support a healthcare system that provides affordable, accessible and adequate healthcare coverage and preserves the coverage provided to millions through Medicare and Medicaid. The basic elements of meaningful coverage are described below.
Health Insurance Must be Affordable – Affordable plans ensure patients are able to access needed care in a timely manner from an experienced provider without undue financial burden. Affordable coverage includes reasonable premiums and cost sharing (such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance) and limits on out-of-pocket expenses. Adequate financial assistance must be available for low-income Americans and individuals with preexisting conditions should not be subject to increased premium costs based on their disease or health status.
Health Insurance Must be Accessible – All people, regardless of employment status or geographic location, should be able to gain coverage without waiting periods through adequate open and special enrollment periods. Patient protections in current law should be retained, including prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions, annual and lifetime limits, insurance policy rescissions, gender pricing and excessive premiums for older adults. Children should be allowed to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and coverage through Medicare and Medicaid should not be jeopardized through excessive cost-shifting, funding cuts, or per capita caps or block granting.
Health Insurance Must be Adequate and Understandable – All plans should be required to cover a full range of needed health benefits with a comprehensive and stable network of providers and plan features. Guaranteed access to and prioritization of preventive services without cost-sharing should be preserved. Information regarding costs and coverage must be available, transparent, and understandable to the consumer prior to purchasing the plan.