I read the recent letter to the editor entitled “Fighting ACA a bad proposition for Republicans” (Tribune, Oct. 25, evtnow.com/607). While I do not agree with the partisan nature of that letter, it highlighted that there are some good things in the ACA that should not be thrown away. Some aspects in particular will positively affect cancer survivors. For example, the protection of patients with pre-existing conditions, as well as the elimination of annual and lifetime limits will provide patients with access to the care they need as well as reduce the number of medical bankruptcies. Too often, patients are faced with daunting financial challenges on top of those related to their treatment and care. However, one issue that is not addressed in ACA is the unequal treatment of oral versus infusion cancer drugs by insurers. There is an urgent need for additional legislation to resolve this problem.
As a lymphoma survivor, I can testify first-hand to the emotional, physical and financial challenges presented by a cancer diagnosis. For example, despite the fact that oral chemotherapy (cancer treatment in pill form) is among the most innovative and targeted forms of treatment for many types of cancer, some patients cannot afford it due to the fact that insurers charge huge co-pays for these treatments (unlike the small co-pays charged for infusion drugs). Unless federal lawmakers act soon to create parity among cancer treatments, even more patients may find themselves priced out of innovative and life-extending therapies.