On January 3, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear oral arguments in the case of Haller v. Health and Human Services (HHS) and decide whether or not to uphold the U.S. District Court’s ruling preserving the No Surprises Act (NSA), legislation that prohibits patients from receiving surprise bills for unexpected out-of-network costs. 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) filed an amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the case in August, urging the circuit court to uphold the law and keep the lower court’s ruling in place. 

Nearly a quarter of cancer patients and survivors report having received a surprise medical bill prior to the passage of the NSA, according to ACS CAN survey data, and over half report incurring medical debt.  

A statement on behalf of Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN follows: 

“The costs of cancer in the U.S. are dangerously unaffordable for patients. Prior to this law, too many people with cancer received surprise bills that financially burdened their families and led to worse health outcomes and higher mortality rates, according to ACS research. 

“Cancer patients are especially apt to encounter these kinds of bills as they often must see a variety of providers at multiple facilities. For the more than 1.9 million people in the U.S. expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year alone, it’s critical we uphold protections like the NSA that aim to make health care more affordable and give more people a fighting chance at survival. 

“No one should have to struggle to pay basic bills, deplete their savings or face bankruptcy because of a cancer diagnosis. We urge the court to protect patients from the burden of surprise medical bills and debt by preserving protections Congress gave to patients under the NSA.”

This story was published by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network on January 3, 2024. It is republished with permission.