Download LTE # 1 - American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

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LTE # 1: [246 words]
Your life versus your lifesavings?
As a [cancer patient/survivor/caregiver of a family member with cancer] I know all too well how
having access to cancer care can be your lifeline. And that access can not only determine your
quality of life – but can make the difference in your prognosis. Unfortunately, one in four
families affected by cancer says they have had to put off or delay care in the last year because of
cost, according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
One person delaying lifesaving treatment is one too many – one in four is unacceptable.
Cancer patients across the country are digging deep into their savings and risking financial ruin
to pay for their treatment and care. Nearly half of cancer patients without insurance use all or
most of their savings while receiving treatment. Even one in five people with insurance see their
savings dwindle as a result of a cancer diagnosis.
We cannot reduce death and suffering from cancer if the country does not improve access to
quality, affordable health care. Too many cancer patients are delaying or forgoing lifesaving
screenings and treatments because of problems accessing care.
Health care reform is about saving lives. Families affected by cancer need Congress and the
President to take action on reform NOW, not later. Simply put, people need to be able to get the
treatment they need, at a cost they can afford. No cancer patient should ever be forced to make a
decision between their life or their lifesavings.
[NAME]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, State]
LTE # 2: [212 words]
The economic crisis is a health care crisis
In today’s tough economy as many as 14,000 people are losing their health insurance every day.
In fact, for every one percentage point rise in the national unemployment rate, 2.4 million people
lose their health coverage through their employer.
For families affected by cancer, these numbers should be a wake-up call. According to the
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, two-thirds of cancer patients under age 65
who tried to find insurance outside their employer couldn’t find an affordable plan. And for
cancer patients, research shows that being uninsured can worsen your chance of survival.
Those who are uninsured are less likely to receive cancer prevention services, more likely to be
treated for cancer at late stages of disease, more likely to receive substandard care and services,
and more likely to die from their cancer.
Health care reform is about saving lives. As a cancer advocate, I plan to call on the President and
Congress to work together in a bipartisan manner to devise a uniquely American solution to the
health care crisis that works for families affected by cancer. Whatever the solution, it must
include quality, affordable coverage for all Americans.
With more people losing their health insurance every day, cancer patients, survivors and their
loved ones can’t afford to wait.
[NAME]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, State]
LTE #3: [232 words]
An ounce of prevention…
As a [mother/parent/caregiver of a cancer patient/cancer survivor] I was outraged when I saw a
poll from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network showing that one in five women
says she or a family member has put off getting a recommended cancer screening test in the past
year because of cost. And that nearly one-third of Americans with household incomes less than
$35,000 say they have put off potentially lifesaving screenings such as mammograms or
colonoscopies.
Many people don’t realize that better access to preventive services like cancer screenings and
smoking cessation programs could prevent 60 percent of cancer deaths – that translates into
nearly 340,000 people every year.
As Congress and the President work to fix health care, we must encourage them to transform the
current “sick care” system into one that focuses on disease prevention by offering screenings and
other preventive services at little or no cost to patients. More than 8 in 10 voters say they would
support access to affordable cancer screenings for all Americans, regardless of insurance status,
as a way to improve our health care system.
Health care reform is about saving lives. Congress must act now to provide low- or no-cost
preventive services so that serious and life-threatening diseases, like cancer, can be caught and
treated early—not later when it may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep a cancer
patient alive.
[NAME]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, State]
LTE #4: [190 words]
Ensuring Access … Regardless of Pre-existing Conditions
[Insert your personal story – are you or a loved one a cancer survivor who lost your insurance
while you were in treatment or cannot obtain health insurance due to your health status?]
Far too many people are denied critical health insurance coverage because they have a preexisting condition such as cancer. According to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action
Network, nearly one in three people under age 65 with a history of cancer has been uninsured at
some point since their diagnosis – and scientific research shows that being uninsured can lessen
the chances of survival for cancer patients.
Health insurers should not be able to deny coverage or charge more for a health insurance plan to
people based on their health status, including their medical claims history, specific behavior,
health condition, family history and pre-existing conditions. We need to transform the current
“sick care” system into one that elevates the importance of disease prevention and emphasizes
patient-centered care.
Health care reform is about saving lives. Families affected by cancer need Congress and the
President to take action on reform NOW, not later. The status quo is simply not an option.
Sincerely,
[NAME]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, State]
LTE #5: [170 words]
Making Health Care Affordable
Like many families, mine has struggled with health care costs. [When I was diagnosed with
cancer/When my mother/father/child/wife/husband was diagnosed with cancer I/we incurred X
amount in debt.]
The high costs of cancer care made it difficult to pay our bills. [We/I struggled to pay our (cite
example -- mortgage/electric bill/telephone bill/car payment/groceries). No one should have to
make the decision that I/we had to when facing a life-threatening disease such as cancer.]
Unfortunately, one in four families affected by cancer has delayed care due to cost, according to
the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. After receiving a devastating diagnosis,
many families must make the choice to spend their life savings to save their life or delay
treatment in order to pay their bills.
We cannot afford to postpone comprehensive health care reform any longer. Please urge [insert
Member of Congress] to take action now, not later, in support of comprehensive health care
reform that will ensure access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans and save lives.
[Name]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, state]
LTE #6: [203 words]
Health care legislation “musts” for cancer patients
To fight cancer and save lives, we have to fix our nation’s broken health care system. [As
someone who has faced cancer/as someone whose loved one has faced cancer – insert personal
story – ] I know first-hand that reforming our health care system is long overdue.
Health care reform legislation must give all Americans access to quality health insurance that is
affordable, accessible, and administratively simple. Reform also must emphasize disease
prevention and encourage healthy lifestyles – without penalizing people for specific behaviors or
pre-existing conditions.
This is a critical point in the war against cancer. But if we work together, the millions of families
affected by cancer can send a message loud and clear to elected officials: health care reform
cannot wait.
The experiences of families affected by cancer highlight the major problems in our health care
system – whether it’s inadequate coverage, high out-of-pocket costs, pre-existing condition
exclusions, or confusing plan descriptions. As a result, too many cancer patients don’t get the
lifesaving care they need.
That’s why the time for health care reform is now, not later. If we fix the health care system for
families affected by cancer, we will fix it for millions of others and save lives in the process.
[Name]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, state]
OP-ED # 1
(Please use data from the one-page “cost of doing nothing” state fact sheets)
Health Care Reform is about Saving Lives
As a [cancer patient/survivor/caregiver of a family member with cancer] I know all too well how
having access to cancer care can be your lifeline. And that access cannot only determine your
quality of life – but can make the difference in your prognosis. Unfortunately, one in four
families affected by cancer says they have had to put off or delay care in the past year because of
cost, according to new polling data from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
One person delaying lifesaving treatment is one too many – one in four is unacceptable.
Cancer patients across the country are digging deep into their savings and risking financial ruin
to pay for their care. Nearly half of cancer patients without insurance use all or most of their
savings while receiving treatment. Even one in five people with insurance see their savings
dwindle as a result of a cancer diagnosis. In [State], X in X insured people under the age of 65
live in households that spend more than [X percent] of their income of health care costs. This
number increased by more than [XX percent] between 2000 and 2008.
High costs are forcing tough decisions upon families with cancer that no one should ever have to
make. Nearly a third of all adults who have been diagnosed with cancer face difficulty paying for
necessities such as food, housing, heat, and other bills.
We cannot reduce death and suffering from cancer if the country does not improve access to
quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Cancer patients know too well the holes in our
broken ‘sick care’ system. If we can fix it for them, we can fix it for virtually anyone at risk of
being diagnosed with a chronic disease.
The President and Congress must work together in a bipartisan manner to devise a uniquely
American solution to the health care crisis that works for families affected by cancer. Whatever
the solution, it must give all Americans access to quality, affordable health care. Simply put,
people must be able to get the evidence-based treatment they need, at a cost they can afford,
through a health plan they can easily understand.
To accomplish reform, lawmakers need to find ways to improve the existing public-private
system so all Americans receive quality cancer care. Most importantly, any reform must give
people the choice of keeping their current health care plan and doctor. At the same time, we must
limit the cost burden on families by having limits on out-of-pocket patient costs.
Health care reform is about saving lives. It’s outrageous that more than X in X insured adults in
[STATE] reported they were unable to see a doctor in the last 12 months when they needed care
because of cost. For a cancer patient, that care could mean a matter of life or death.
No cancer patient should ever be forced to make a decision between their life or their lifesavings.
Families affected by cancer need Congress and the President to take action on reform NOW, not
later.
[NAME]
Volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
[Hometown, state]