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The Chronic Disease Coalition remained active and attentive on several policy issues during the month of May. From defending crucial non-discrimination policies outlined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to fighting threats to copay assistance programs, you’ll learn more about what these policy discussions mean for the chronic disease community. Letter Opposes Administration’s Changes to ACA Policy The Trump Administration recently fast tracked an effort to weaken non-discrimination protections afforded by the ACA. These non-discrimination regulations, known as the Health Care Rights Law (HCRL), protect patients from discrimination based on their gender, sexual orientation and more. The CDC joined over 100 organizations in expressing opposition to the proposed changes to this crucial component of the ACA. These crucial protections were adopted in 2016 after six years of discussion and consideration of over 25,000 public comments. Dismantling these protections puts a variety of communities at risk and contributes to inequitable access to health care across the nation. Learn more about HCRL and the protections afforded by the ACA in the HCRL Final Rule Alert. CDC Urges GOP Officials to Drop Case Threatening the Affordable Care Act A recent court case has also jeopardized the patient protections afforded by the ACA, threatening insurance coverage for millions of Americans with preexisting conditions. The case was initially filed and ruled upon in the Texas 5th Circuit Court, challenging the ACA’s constitutionality. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, nearly 22 million Americans received health care coverage under the ACA and this case threatens those protections. In early May, the Supreme Court of the United States made the decision to review this case. The CDC joined the Harvard Law School Center for Public Health and others in highlighting the importance of health insurance for people during an international pandemic, urging Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to withdraw from the case. To learn more about California v. Texas, check out this CDC blog post. Letter to Health and Human Services on Cost Sharing Provision in 2021 Notice of Benefit & Payment Parameters (NBPP) Copay assistance is used by patients to help afford their lifesaving medications. Copay cards are distributed by drug manufacturers to help patients afford their treatment and meet their deductible. Previously, payments made from copay cards would count towards a patients’ deductible, helping meet cost requirements for insurance to kick in. However, the 2021 NBPP issued in May, grants insurers the right to not count drug copayment assistance towards a member’s annual deductible. These protocols, known as copay accumulator programs, shift the cost of treatment to patients. To fight the issues of this new rule, the CDC signed onto a letter urging the US Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider the 2021 NBPP finalized in May. Fighting for non-discriminatory policy decisions and stopping copay accumulator programs are just two of the many policy initiatives the CDC is tracking on a regular basis. Join us and make your voice heard by signing your own letter to legislators today.