Ensuring access to quality, evidence-based health care has been a top priority for the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for many years and is an essential component of the Breast Cancer Deadline 2020® goal of ending breast cancer. NBCC works to identify, advocate for, and support the implementation of laws such as the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" which mark important steps forward in access to quality health care. In addition, NBCC remains committed to protecting vital existing programs such as the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP) and critically examining any proposed changes to programs such as Medicare in order to determine the impact they would have on access to quality care.
NBCC has succeeded in making targeted changes to expand access to health care. After years of NBCC grassroots lobbying and influence, Congress enacted the "Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act" (P.L. 106-354) in 2000. Passage of this law expanded access to health care for thousands of underserved women. The Act authorized enhanced matching funds to states to provide Medicaid coverage to uninsured or underinsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through a federal screening program. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, 5 U.S. territories and 12 American Indian/Alaska Native tribal organizations have opted into the BCCTP.
More recently, NBCC supported passage of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PPACA) and continues to support its implementation. The PPACA provides breast cancer survivors and others vital protections from many of the past practices of the health care system.
The law brings the country closer to truly comprehensive health care reform that will help the millions of women living with and battling breast cancer and the millions of other Americans living with life threatening, chronic and debilitating conditions.
While the BCCTP and the PPACA mentioned above, as well as other changes over the past years, are important steps forward, they alone will not get us to the goal of guaranteed access to quality care for all. NBCC continues to believe that in order to reach this goal, public policy must move beyond incremental changes to the existing health care system toward true comprehensive reform.
In addition, it is critical that even in the face of the current budget debate we do not move backward in our progress. The impact of any changes to Medicaid, Medicare or other existing laws must be critically examined based on the effect these changes will have on overall access to quality care. Educated patient advocates must play a role in these determinations which could directly impact their ability to access care.
NBCC asks Senators and Representatives to support actions which will continue to move the country closer to guaranteed access to quality care for all. We ask that any proposed changes to existing programs be examined critically in order to determine their impact on this goal.
For more information on this or NBCC’s other legislative priorities, please contact Dana Richter, NBCC Director of Government Relations at drichter@BreastCancerDeadline2020.org or (202) 973-0595 or refer to NBCC’s website at www.BreastCancerDeadline2020.org.