Palanker discusses the possible upcoming changes to the ACA.

The White House Administration recently announced it will no longer defend in court key parts of at the Affordable Care Act (ACA), specifically protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The possibility that states may do away with safeguards for pre-existing conditions would have serious ramifications for the overall marketplace and the quality of life for millions of Americans.

Director of State Advocacy and Alliance Development for U.S. Pain Shaina Smith recently sat down with U.S. Pain ambassador-advocate Dania Palanker to discuss the situation. Palanker currently is assistant research professor at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown’s Health Policy Institute. As someone who analyzes state and federal health insurance market reforms, including the implementation of the ACA, Palanker understands the insurance benefit design and coverage for health conditions. As an individual who lives with chronic pain, Palanker also has a personal stake in the matter.

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ACA enrollment deadline: Dec. 15

With all the confusion surrounding health care this past year, U.S. Pain wants to remind members that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is still in place and enrollment for 2018 is ending soon, on Dec. 15, 2017.

Whether you need to enroll for the first time or re-enroll for the same coverage, Dec. 15, 2017 is the final date you can enroll for coverage beginning on Jan. 1, 2018.

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Speaking out on the ACA repeal

During the early morning hours of July 28, the U.S. Senate narrowly rejected the most recent proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known as the “skinny repeal.”  McCain (R-Arizona), who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, casted the deciding vote.

U.S. Pain was among many health and patient organizations that opposed the proposed reform, including: the American Medical Association; the American Public Health Association; American Hospital Association; AARP; the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; and the National Organization for Rare Disorders.

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Speaking out on health care reform

Wendy Foster, at left, with Sen. Blumenthal.

On July 25, the Senate voted to start debate on several proposed bills that aim to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While it remains unclear what the final version of the bill will look like, every proposal so far would likely have negative consequences on those with chronic pain and other chronic illnesses.

U.S. Pain is asking members to take action now by sending a letter to your senators using this easy tool. Most major health care organizations oppose the proposed reforms, including the American Medical Association;  the American Public Health Association; American Hospital Association; American Association of Medical Colleges; AARP; American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network; American Heart Association: American Lung Association; and National Organization for Rare Disorders.

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Berggren Foster, at left, with Sen. Blumenthal.

MIDDLETOWN, CONN., July 28, 2017-In the early morning hours, the U.S. Senate narrowly rejected the most recent proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as the “skinny repeal.”  McCain (R-Arizona), who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, casted the deciding vote.

“Putting politics aside, we are pleased to learn that people with chronic pain woke up the quality and accessibility of their health care still protected ,” said president and founder of U.S. Pain Foundation, Paul Gileno. “As an organization created by people with pain for people with pain, we were concerned about the far-reaching consequences of the bill.”

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Understanding the BCRA

U.S. Pain remains extremely concerned about the Senate’s proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) and its negative implications for the 100 million Americans living with chronic pain. The concerns are as follows:

  • While these reforms may make insurance cheaper for healthy individuals, their insurance will be significantly inferior, which will become a problem should they develop a chronic condition, like chronic pain. As the pain community knows, chronic pain can strike at any time.
  •  Meanwhile, people with chronic health conditions and older individuals will likely be subjected to higher costs—without any improvement in the quality of their insurance or even a decline in quality.
  •  Many individuals will lose access to low-cost insurance through Medicaid. But chronic pain can affect peoples’ ability to work. Through no fault of their own, they have difficulty affording health insurance and rely on Medicaid for care.

U.S. Pain recognizes that this is a highly sensitive and polarizing issue for many people. As such, it has put together a chart about some of the differences between the ACA and the BCRA.

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Middletown, CT, May 4, 2017-The U.S. Pain Foundation is gravely concerned about its members who will lose their healthcare coverage or will face steep increases for pre-existing medical conditions if the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 prevails as law. Today’s actions in the House marks unchartered territory for millions of Americans who rely on the existing healthcare system to receive essential and life-saving treatments.

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Committed to fighting for affordable access to quality care for individuals living with chronic illnesses, U.S. Pain Foundation has been monitoring the ongoing health care debate at the federal level. After weeks of uneasiness as to what would occur with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as ObamaCare, legislators proposed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), but then withdrew it before a vote took place.

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U.S. Pain was one of 200 other patient organizations to sign a letter to U.S. Human and Health Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price asking him to maintain and enforce critical patient protections and prescription drug access when reviewing and suggesting changes to the Affordable Care Act. The 200 groups are part of the “I am essential” coalition, which represents millions of patients and their families and is dedicated to protecting quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care. To read the letter, click here. To read a press release about the letter, click here.

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U.S. Pain Foundation spoke out on two important federal issues this month with articles in the National Pain Report. The first article, published Jan. 11,  discussed the potential Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal, while a second article highlighted new biosimilar and biologic naming guidelines and was published Jan. 24.

In the ACA story, U.S. Pain joined many other patient advocacy organizations in expressing concern over the potential repeal without details for a replacement. Written by Shaina Smith, director of advocacy and alliance development, on behalf of U.S. Pain, the article emphasized the importance of access to quality, affordable insurance for chronic pain patients.

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