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2.14.2017 On Feb. 13, the Chronic Disease Coalition and 200 patient groups signed and sent a joint letter urging Secretary Tom Price – the recently confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary – and the federal government to maintain vital patient protections and prescription drug access while the administration reviews and explores possible changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “While it is not a perfect law, the ACA has provided health coverage and improved access to care for tens of millions of Americans living with chronic and serious health conditions, many of whom were previously uninsured or underinsured,” the letter states. “If they lose access and coverage for even one day, their health and well-being can be immediately jeopardized. Therefore, providing them with continuous coverage and consistent care and treatment must be your number one priority.” Spearheading the letter was I Am Essential, an organization that was founded to ensure patients’ voices were heard throughout the development and implementation of the ACA. Today I Am Essential continues to advocate for quality and affordable care access and patient protections. The letter to Secretary Price further advocated for the importance and value of patient protections created through the ACA: “The existing law provides many important patient protections that are some of the most popular features of the ACA among beneficiaries and are the heart of patient-centered reform: no longer can individuals living with pre-existing conditions be denied coverage or charged higher premiums based on their health status, nor can plans discriminate against individuals in their marketing or after issuing them coverage; beneficiaries have the right to appeal adverse coverage decisions.” Groups signing on to the letter included the Chronic Disease Coalition, Arthritis Foundation, The AIDS Institute, NAACP, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, American Lung Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness among others. To read the full letter and see the entire list of 200 signers, please click here.