Cancer survivors, patient advocates, speak out in defense of Obamacare

❝ With continuing attempts in Congress to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act…a panel of experts and patient advocates at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting here discussed how changes would affect cancer patients and survivors.

“I don’t know if I’d be alive today without coverage under the Affordable Care Act,” said Chiara D’Agostino, a 45-year-old from Montclair, N.J., with triple negative, stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She said she could not have afforded medical insurance without the ACA.

“And I’m incredibly anxious that my healthcare insurance can be pulled out from under me.”

❝ She was joined on the panel by three-time breast cancer survivor Diana Chingos of Los Angeles, who related how she could not switch health plans prior to the ACA, as well as moderator Gilbert S. Omenn, MD, PhD, of University of Michigan, and Ernest Hawk, MD, MPH, of University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Omenn…noted that access to comprehensive health insurance is vital for all Americans, especially the 1.7 million who were diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and the estimated 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States today…

❝ “About 3% of healthcare spending in the U.S. is for prevention and public health, and 75% of healthcare costs are related to preventable conditions,” said Hawk, noting that one-third to one-half of cancer deaths are preventable in western populations, and that the ACA has provisions for covering clinical preventive services…

❝ Chingos, a 23-year breast cancer survivor, said that when she left the corporate world to freelance years ago, she hadn’t expected to be diagnosed with cancer at age 30.

“I found that I was married to my health insurance policy,” she said, since she couldn’t switch coverage because of her pre-existing condition…

To her, she said, “Repeal and replace are words that are not compatible with a cancer diagnosis.”

Too bad so many of our elected officials are missing a heart.

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