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United Health To Congress: Let Cancer Patients Eat Gauze (Op-Ed in The Hill)

April 30, 2015
Jonathan Wilcox's op-ed in The Hill today highlights the growing challenge of insurance company tactics that contribute to increased costs to the health care system and restricted patient access to life-saving medicines.

While UnitedHealth Group just reported increased revenues for first quarter 2015, patients are shouldering the burden with rising copays and restricted coverage, asserts the author.

As Wilcox writes, 'That’s why cancer advocacy organizations are taking action, pressing Congress and state legislatures to cap co-pays on specialty medicines and ensure equality of access and insurance coverage for all anticancer regimens.  To date, 39 states have enacted oral chemotherapy access laws, while 15 states and the District of Columbia have either introduced or passed bills to limit what patients pay for specialty medicines.'

Wilcox goes on to describe unjust practices such as step therapy, specialty tiers, and other insurance company schemes that are resulting in a growing crisis for the health care system. He further suggests solutions that would improve patient access and reduce health care costs over the long-term.

As he concludes, 'Right now a patient revolution is going on in this country, but it need not be at war with the insurance industry.  By all means, let UnitedHealth grow its business and expand its bottom line.  We don’t want to take away the insurance industry’s profits – all we ask is that while doing very well from patient premiums, insurers do some good for patient access, too.'

The full op-ed can be accessed here.