The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the nation’s leading ovarian cancer advocacy organization. As the Washington, D.C. arm of the ovarian cancer movement, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance works to save women’s lives through education, awareness and advocacy. The health care system plays an integral role in early detection and treatment of ovarian cancer, and in turn, saving women’s lives. As such, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has deemed it necessary to outline its basic principles of health care reform.
Coverage must be available and affordable
For too many women with ovarian cancer, health insurance coverage remains out-of-reach – both due to cost and pre-existing condition limitations. Employer offered health care does not assist those who are too sick to work; many plans offered in the individual market either exclude pre-existing conditions like cancer or charge premiums that are so expensive they are untenable for most Americans; and high-risk pools are often full, are too expensive, and/or also have waiting or exclusionary periods. When offered, some employer-based and/or individual plans still can prove unaffordable due to expensive co-payment, premiums, and/or co-insurance requirements, rendering them, in essence, unavailable. Many women, still, lack comprehensive coverage and are “underinsured”. Therefore, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance feels strongly that national health reform must provide a solution for those who currently slip through the cracks, often by being priced out of, or denied insurance coverage.
Coverage must be portable
When women change jobs or have major life changes, they may lose coverage. For example, the cost of COBRA coverage for women with pre-existing conditions, such as ovarian cancer, may not be available to women. Coverage must not rely upon employment or other mutable qualities in a woman’s life. Reform must include a portability option so that women with ovarian cancer can move, change jobs, and live their lives as fully as possible.
Quality care must be delivered
Women suspected of, at high risk of, or diagnosed with ovarian cancer must have access to evidence-based, outcomes driven quality care. Regardless of gender, racial, economic, geographic, or other differences, all Americans must receive the best and most appropriate care to meet their particular health needs and ensure the best outcomes. This includes access to preventative services, specialists, diagnostic tests, treatments, clinical trials, and end of life care. Quality care is comprehensive, efficient, equitable, and safe.
Care must be patient-centered
The health care financing and delivery system must be focused on patient care and patient quality of life. Patient-centered care means that providers and patients must be responsible for the patient’s health and well-being, and requires respect between all parties to carry out this mission. Reimbursement and payment policies should not be the driving factors in health care decision-making; care choices and determinations should be evidence-based and made in concert with the affected patient and her family, when appropriate; reimbursement and payment policies should not drive care choice.
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Position
The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance stands ready to work with Congress, the Administration, and others in the community to increase access to health care and health insurance coverage, improve the nation’s health care system, and work to ensure that the nation’s scarce resources are allocated to ensure the provision of quality, evidence-based, outcomes driven, comprehensive care for all patients in need.