Health care reform is controversial. The recently signed legislation may not be perfect, but it does benefit cancer patients in the following ways:
1. insurance coverage for patients participating in clinical trials
2. removal of lifetime caps
3. insurers can no longer exclude children with pre existing conditions from their parents' policy
4. dependent children up to age 26 can remain on their parents' policy
5. closing the drug prescription gap in Medicare Part D. As more and more cancer drugs become available in oral form, the drugs have become less affordable for cancer patients. Beginning in 2010, seniors who fall in the "doughnut hole," or, spend between $2,700 and $6,154, will receive a $250 government subsidy to help cover the costs of their medication. By 2020, Medicare will cover 75 percent of drug costs in the "doughnut hole" for Medicare patients.
6. focus more on prevention and early detection by requiring all insurance plans to provide coverage for essential, evidence-based preventive measures with no additional co-pays
The American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network and the American Society of Clinical Oncologists will continue their strong advocacy on behalf of cancer patients. Both organizations have pledged to work with Congress to improve and extend this historic legislation.