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Letter: Health plan expansion aids low-income Hoosiers

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

To the editor:

On behalf of Little Red Door Cancer Agency’s board of directors, our staff members and the medically under-served clients we serve, we would like to express the agency’s support for the expansion of health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers through HIP 2.0.

Little Red Door Cancer Agency has been reducing the burden of cancer for medically under-served residents in central Indiana for nearly 70 years. Hearing the words “You have cancer” is very difficult for anyone, but for someone without medical insurance it is completely devastating.

But the health care landscape is changing, and that is great news for Little Red Door’s clients — for those who have already received a cancer diagnosis as well as those who have yet to learn that a cancer diagnosis lurks in their future.

New provisions in the Affordable Care Act ensure access to free preventative care (including mammograms and colonoscopies), eliminate exclusion based on pre-existing conditions (such as a cancer diagnosis), and remove annual and lifetime caps. These new provisions mean many low-income individuals now have hope that they too have a chance to beat cancer.

With the proposed expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan, low-income Hoosiers will now have the opportunity to access health care and meet the federal mandate of having health insurance. HIP 2.0 stresses personal responsibility, which helps participants learn about and value health insurance, yet it still provides a safety net to ensure basic coverage for the neediest Hoosiers.

While expanding HIP is good for our low-income residents, it is also good for agencies like Little Red Door and countless other organizations playing a role in the health of Hoosiers. By connecting our clients to affordable insurance programs through the Marketplace and HIP 2.0, we can be assured our clients have access to cancer screenings and treatment when they need it.

And that means our agency’s limited dollars can be spent on much needed wraparound services that health insurance typically does not cover. Little Red Door will be able to provide more rides to lifesaving cancer treatment, more wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair, more yoga classes to ensure cancer patients stay active, and more kids with cancer will get to go to camp and be with other kids who know exactly what they are going through.

Little Red Door Cancer Agency applauds the Gov. Mike Pence administration for creating a thoughtful plan that will greatly increase access to health care and provide hope for so many Hoosiers.

Fred Duncan

Director and CEO,

Little Red Door Cancer Agency

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