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.
Part of the reason the AHCA bill was unsuccessful is due to a Congressional Budget Office report observing that the bill would eliminate coverage for 24 million Americans by 2026 without saving as much money as initially thought. With that in mind, U.S. Pain views the halt as a win for those with chronic conditions.
“Health care is as complicated as it is important,” says U.S. Pain Foundation President and Founder Paul Gileno. “The ACA was a step in the right direction. We should aim to build upon its successes in a thoughtful, productive way. Any reforms must be carefully considered—there is too much at stake to rush through changes.”
Gileno notes that access to affordable, quality insurance is vitally important to the health and quality of life of patients with chronic pain, who often struggle financially because of their limited ability to work yet desperately need effective care. Major organizations like the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association have expressed concerns about the AHCA. The U.S. Pain Foundation shares many of these same concerns, such as:
- The possible removal of protections for those with pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits;
- Changing tax credits to be determined by age instead of income, which could make it difficult for those with low incomes and complex health needs to afford appropriate insurance;
- Cutting Medicaid funding and reducing eligibility, which would harm individuals with low incomes and those who are disabled.
This is why Gileno says he and other patient groups want to be part of a larger discussion to create positive change for those whose lives are impacted by disease, illness, and pain. “We just ask for a seat at the table to make sure patients’ best interests are protected.”
While the nation anxiously awaits what will happen next federally, U.S. Pain Foundation encourages members to contact elected officials, explaining their health conditions and insurance needs. The organization also encourage you to share your powerful stories with local and national news media outlets.