While there has been much debate about the pros and cons of the Affordable Care Act, there is no question that even in its current form, the law provides critical access to cancer prevention, early screening and treatment for those diagnosed with the disease.

By covering visits to primary care providers, the ACA ensures that prevention services are provided to patients at no cost. Similarly, the ACA guarantees that cancer screening tests are covered at 100 percent. No Mainer should have to refuse a cancer screening test because of cost when earlier detection of cancer means easier and more successful treatments. This is how lives are saved by the ACA.

The ACA also protects cancer patients, survivors and their families by limiting the financial impact of a diagnosis. Insurance companies can no longer charge higher prices because a patient receives a cancer diagnosis. Nor can they stop insuring a cancer patient because the costs of their treatment exceed an arbitrary limit.

Most importantly, the ACA has meant that thousands more Mainers now have health insurance. They can visit their doctor regularly, learn about healthy lifestyle choices, get cancer screenings and, if necessary, begin early treatment when cures are still possible. Will we let our national leaders repeal the ACA and deny this lifesaving coverage to our family and friends here in Maine?

Maine has significantly higher cancer rates than the rest of the U.S., but we believe that the protections offered by the ACA are changing that statistic. And we believe it is our responsibility to make sure that this coverage continues to protect our fellow Mainers as they fight for their lives.

Tara M. Hill

executive director, Maine Cancer Foundation