Letter: Keep private health insurance affordable

I hope this pandemic has taught us the importance of access to quality affordable health care.

As the pandemic continues, Congress is risking making health coverage more expensive and possibly unaffordable for millions of Americans.

Earlier in the COVID crisis Congress passed legislation making it more affordable for more people to purchase private health insurance in the marketplace. I am the owner of a Cancer Rehabilitation Center in Sandy, which is an outpatient physical therapy clinic for cancer patients, and the state lead ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. Every day I see patients with cancer struggle with the increased cost of health care and all the out of pocket costs they incur.

The expansion is responsible for at least one million more Americans getting health coverage and more Americans than ever being able to benefit from this assistance on the exchange. I know what a tremendous relief having health insurance is when facing an unforeseen medical condition, like cancer. Unless Congress acts, that extra help will expire at the end of the year and many of those people will have to pay 50% more for coverage, which is likely to make this coverage unaffordable, meaning they’ll be uninsured once again.

Even if the pandemic has ebbed for now, there’s no guarantee that will continue, just as there’s no guarantee you won’t get cancer or some other serious illness.

I urge Sen. Romney to insist that these temporary subsidies be made permanent in relief legislation so people can access critical care. Health coverage is essential for COVID, for cancer and for everyone.

Catherine Standiford, Sandy

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