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Prevention in Action: ACA remains intact, LGBTQ+ Americans and cancer risk and more

June 25, 2021

Prevention in Action | Advocacy news for cancer prevention & early detection

Prevent Cancer Foundation applauds Supreme Court ruling upholding Affordable Care Act

On Thursday June 17, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in California v. Texas, leaving the law intact and saving health care coverage for millions of Americans. In a 7-2 opinion, the Court ruled to dismiss the challenges brought against the 2010 law, stating that the 18 Republican-led states and two individuals who brought the suit had no legal right to pursue the case. The nature of this ruling not only dismisses challenges brought against the ACA but makes it more difficult for similar suits to be filed, further engraining the ACA into the American health care system. The ACA has now been challenged and upheld by the high Court three times.

The Court decision ensures that essential patient protections will remain intact, including those that: 

  • Prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for coverage to people with pre-existing conditions
  • Require health plans to offer essential benefits to prevent and treat serious conditions
  • Eliminate arbitrary dollar limits on coverage 

Federal tax credits that make health insurance affordable for millions of Americans will continue. Additionally, the 39 states that depend on federal funding to provide critical Medicaid coverage to low-income adults will also have funds to continue offering increased access to that safety-net coverage.

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. Delays in cancer screenings due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean more individuals are at risk for late-stage cancer diagnoses. The ACA is critical in ensuring access to quality health care coverage for more Americans.

As previously reported, the Biden administration, through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, has extended the Special Enrollment Period to purchase health insurance coverage until August 15. Visit healthcare.gov to enroll in a plan.

LGBTQ+ Americans at disproportionate risk of cancer

In observance of Pride Month, a time to collectively honor the struggles and inequalities LGBTQ+ people face and recognize individuals who continue to fight for full equality, the Foundation wants to shed light on how these challenges stretch into the world of health care.

Painting the full picture of the health disparities LGBTQ+ people face is a challenge due to a lack of representation in data collection, but there are some things we do know. LGBTQ+ people are at higher risk of certain conditions, have less access to health care and have worse health outcomes than their peers.

  • Higher risk for smoking-related cancer: LGBT youth and adults are heavily targeted by Big Tobacco, resulting in higher rates of smoking than the general population and increasing their risk for lung and other cancers. In fact, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults are 2.5 times more likely to smoke than straight, cisgender adults.
  • Higher risk of HPV: The human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause at least six types of cancer, including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal (back of throat), penile, vulvar and vaginal cancers. The HPV vaccine can protect against the virus and stop cancer before it starts, but studies show that HPV vaccination rates are low among gay and bisexual men in the U.S., leaving them at higher risk for HPV-related cancers.

Often LGBTQ+ people do not have access to quality care, as most employers do not offer insurance for unmarried domestic partners. Additionally, LGBTQ+ individuals may delay receiving health care for fear of discrimination based on previous experiences with health care professionals. 

The Prevent Cancer Foundation supports ensuring everyone’s access to health care regardless of gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. Creating a world where all people are treated justly and equitably means eliminating the health disparities that plague the LGBTQ+ population and other high risk and medically underserved groups.

Visit our website to learn more about health disparities impacting the LGBTQ+ community and access resources.

21st Century Cures 2.0 draft legislation includes research agency ARPA-H

On Tuesday, June 22, following months of anticipation, Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) released a 21st Century Cures 2.0 discussion draft. The original Cures Act was signed into law in 2016 and primarily focused on medical research and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory issues. In 2016, Prevent Cancer Foundation honored Upton and DeGette at our Annual Gala with the Cancer Champion Award for their work on the Cures Act. The latest Cures 2.0 draft includes proposals on medical research, public health, clinical trials and coverage policy. 

Highlights of the medical research proposal include an authorization for the Advanced Research Projects Administration – Health (ARPA-H) to drive transformational innovation in health research and speed application and implementation of health breakthroughs. As previously reported, the Prevent Cancer Foundation is closely tracking this proposed program for its potential impact on cancer prevention and early detection. According to a fact sheet produced by the White House, further developing mRNA vaccine technology (like the technology used to create some of the COVID-19 vaccines) to prevent cancers is one of the projects ARPA-H could undertake. The proposed structure of ARPA-H is for it to be a distinct division within the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The Prevent Cancer Foundation will continue to monitor this legislation and share details as they become available. Read the full Cures 2.0 discussion draft or read the section-by-section summary of the bill.


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