Policy Update

Court Ruling on Health Reform
In August, a federal judge ruled that the lawsuit filed by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli challenging the health reform law can move forward. The suit challenges the constitutionality of the individual mandate — the provision of the law that will take effect in 2014 requiring every person to have insurance. The court did not rule on any merits of the case, merely that the Attorney General has standing to challenge the suit and that the court has jurisdiction.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance signed an amicus brief with other nonprofit organizations arguing that the requirement is necessary for a system that will not discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions, such as ovarian cancer.

Further proceedings have not yet been scheduled.

Read the amicus here.
Read the decision here.

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Joins Suit for Access to BRCA Mutation
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Association for Molecular Pathology have filed suit against the Patent and Trademark Office seeking to invalidate the patent on the BRCA mutation that causes some breast and ovarian cancers. Numerous patient organizations have joined the suit, including the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation have been granted patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations.

Women with the BRCA1 and BRCA1 mutations are at higher risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer. However, due to the patents, there is only one company that can test for a BRCA mutation leaving patients with only one option, and no competition to lower costs.

In March, a federal court ruled that the patents are not valid. An appeal was soon filed. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance expects litigation to continue for some time.

Read the full opinion here. See more at www.aclu.org/brca.

Commonwealth Fund Report on What Health Reform Means for Women
The Commonwealth Fund released a report titled “Realizing Health Reform’s Potential: Women and the Affordable Care Act of 2010“. The report outlines the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that will aid women.

Specifically, provisions that will be enforced this calendar year benefitting women include the requirement that adult children, up to age 26, remain on their parents’ insurance plan; a ban on lifetime coverage limits; the beginning phases of a ban on annual benefit limits; bans on recissions; pre-existing insurance plans and rebates to Medicare beneficiaries in the “donut hole”.

New plans will have to follow the guidelines on insurance caps, but existing plans will not.

Read more about Preventive Services.

Previous email including information about the $250 rebate can be found here.

To find an insurance policy, visit www.healthcare.gov.

Policy Makers Page

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has updated its online resources for policy makers, including legislators and Capitol Hill staff. Please see the updated site here.

Interesting Reads:
GAO Report on Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing
Map of States that require coverage of cancer clinical trials