Senate releases new tax bill that takes aim at the Affordable Care Act

November 20, 2017

Prevent Cancer Foundation® releases statement on the Senate tax bill

November 20, 2017
Contact: Lisa Berry

ALEXANDRIA, VA. – The Senate has released a new tax bill that has a direct impact on health care. The House approved their bill on Thursday by a vote of 227-205.

Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the Chairman of the Finance Committee, announced the Senate’s proposed tax bill includes a provision that eliminates the individual mandate, a key component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires certain Americans to purchase health insurance. The bill also removes the deduction for medical expenses, which allows families that meet certain criteria to write off some of the costs accrued through their medical care (e.g., insurance premiums, hospital visits, co-pays, etc.).

The elimination of these provisions poses concerns for cancer prevention. Without the individual mandate, millions of Americans will lose their insurance. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates 13 million Americans would lose coverage by 2027. Additionally, as young, healthy individuals drop out of the market, the CBO estimates premiums will rise by at least 10 percent as insurers attempt to recover the cost of care for those with chronic, complex health care needs, such as cancer.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is concerned that rising premiums and loss of health coverage will preclude millions across the country from receiving the screening and early detection services they need that can save both lives and resources.

In addition, reduced access, coupled with the loss of the deduction for medical expenses, compounds the difficulties families will face when seeking cancer care. Patients and their families often need the services of health care professionals beyond an oncologist, such as a cardiologist, radiologist or a nutritionist, just to name a few. Each of these specialists may require dozens of screenings and diagnostic tests than can quickly add up, with patients incurring thousands of dollars in medical costs. However, by stripping the ability for families to write off said costs, many may choose to seek fewer services or, in some cases, forgo care altogether, which can lead to thousands of cancer cases being missed and progressing to more advanced stages.  

The Foundation believes in access to health care for all Americans, particularly those with complex care needs, as well as access to preventive services that are proven to save lives and save millions of dollars in health care expenses. The Foundation urges bi-partisan negotiation and solutions to create a tax bill that protects prevention and access to the necessary care to Stop Cancer Before it Starts!®


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