Published on March 27, 2020
March 27, 2020
Congress passed a $2 trillion dollar stimulus package to mitigate the economic impact of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – the largest stimulus package in modern U.S. history. The Senate passed the bill on Wednesday, while the House passed it Friday.
The package includes several provisions, including:
The bill will now be sent to the president. He is expected to sign the bill into law. We will provide updates as they occur.
For cancer patients, survivors and caregivers, please view additional resources for support.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrated its 10th birthday on March 23, 2020. The law was the largest health care reform since the creation of Medicare in 1965.
As an integral part of the health system, the ACA expanded several components to increase access to insurance coverage:
In addition, it instituted several patient protection measures that greatly benefited cancer patients:
Currently, the fate of the ACA is uncertain. After a round of litigation in the court system, the ACA sits with a district judge who is reviewing which pieces of the law can be separated from the individual mandate (the component requiring people to purchase health insurance) after the mandate was ruled unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will then review the ACA for the third time.
This week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved waivers for 18 states, granting flexibility in how they can combat COVID-19. Alabama, Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon and Rhode Island and Virginia all received approvals.
These waivers allow states to move more quickly in their response to the pandemic by suspending certain requirements and procedural roadblocks to receiving Medicare and Medicaid benefits. For the duration of the national state of emergency declared by the president last week, the waivers allow providers to prescribe medications without approval from insurers, eliminate pre-admission reviews for some nursing homes, ease reimbursement requirements for services provided in alternative settings (outside a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital) and relax enrollment requirements to allow more out-of-state patients to receive services.
“Thanks to the decisive leadership of President Trump during this emergency, the CMS has been able to swiftly remove barriers and cut red tape for our state partners,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “These waivers give a broad range of states the regulatory relief and support they need to more quickly and effectively care for their most vulnerable citizens.”
As the situation develops, additional waivers and changes to care may continue. We will provide updates as they occur.