The American Lung Association has released a policy brief that outlines a “coordinated effort between federal and state officials [that] is threatening access to healthcare for hundreds of thousands of Americans”. The report, entitled A COORDINATED ATTACK: REDUCING PATIENT ACCESS TO CARE IN STATE MEDICAID PROGRAMS describes policy changes in Medicaid’s “1115 Waiver” applications that significantly restrict patients access to affordable quality healthcare.
The ALA’s press release announcing their policy brief was firm in its oppositon to the 1115 waiver and the negative consequences it will have on patients. “These waivers and their impact on patients could create insurmountable barriers to healthcare for people living with serious and chronic illnesses, such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. For many of these individuals, a sudden gap in healthcare coverage could lead to a worsening of their condition or even death.”
ALA President and CEO Harold Wimmer has called on CMS to protect access to care for Medicaid patients and suspend its 1115 waiver policy. ”The American Lung Association calls on CMS to stop approving harmful 1115 waivers and, in light of the federal district court’s recent decision to block implementation of the Kentucky waiver, CMS should also suspend implementation of 1115 waivers containing any provisions that threaten access to healthcare coverage.”