Affordable Cancer Act upheld by Supreme Court

It was a complicated decision – so complicated that a couple of the major news outlets reported incorrectly that the sweeping health care reform law enacted by Congress in 2010 have been struck down by the Supreme Court. In fact, most of this law, with the exception of the Federal government's ability to withhold states' Medicaid funding, was upheld. Despite calls by some for this law to be dismantled, it is unlikely that the more popular measures of significant impact to cancer patients will go away. These include the outlawing of limitations of insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or exceeding lifetime caps. It also means that 30-plus million individuals will join the ranks of the insured – entitled to health care screening and prevention, earlier cancer diagnosis and treatment and appropriate cancer follow-up. Reams of data show worse cancer outcomes among the uninsured. The consequences on care costs and improved productivity are also projected to be positive by most experts. So this is a big deal (in Joe Biden's words – BFD) not only for cancer patients, but also for the whole country that shares the burden of cancer both in human and financial terms. While the law will certainly be amended by Congress and Executive actions over time, a new era in health care will emerge as the new law of the land is enacted. Cancer patients and their advocates must stay on guard to understand and participate in this process and new initiatives that affect cancer care and research. Regardless of one's opinion in the whole matter, we must exercise our inherent rights bestowed by our government system – a time-tested model that still works in today's partisan environment.