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ACS CAN: Proposed NIH budget cuts would devastate medical innovation and cripple critical cancer research and prevention efforts

Today, May 23, the president introduced his proposed 2018 budget, which includes deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Medicaid. If approved by Congress, the cuts would decrease the NIH budget by 21 percent, decrease the NCI budget by 25 percent, cut the CDC's chronic disease program by nearly 20 percent, and reduce Medicaid funding by more than $600 billion. 

A statement from Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:

"Cutting the NIH budget by $7.1 billion would seriously jeopardize the development of new, potentially life-saving cancer diagnostic tools, prevention methods and treatments. It would also risk eroding the basic scientific research that, when combined with private investment, spurs American medical innovation and economic development. Most specifically, the cuts would completely undermine the increases for research secured in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act meant to accelerate progress against diseases like cancer.

"According to a poll released Monday, an overwhelming 90 percent of voters believe federal funding for medical research is 'very' or 'extremely' important and 75 percent want Congress to significantly increase NIH funding. More than two-thirds oppose the cuts as proposed in the president's previously released 'skinny' budget.

"Cancer research is on the verge of significant new breakthroughs that could help save lives from a disease that continues to kill more than 1,650 Americans each day. Just last week, the American Cancer Society released a reportshowing one in every five adult cancer diagnoses and two of every three childhood cancer diagnoses are considered rare. These patients and their families depend on the promise and progress of continued research investment to develop new therapies that will help to get and keep their specific diagnoses in check.  

"In addition, cutting the CDC chronic disease budget by nearly 20 percent threatens to substantially weaken vital tobacco prevention and cessation programs as well as important efforts to address nutrition, physical activity and obesity—all significant cancer risk factors.

"The results of these cuts combined with the more than $600 billion reduction for Medicaid funding, could leave millions of Americans without access  to meaningful health care and prevention services.

"To date, the federal government has played a critical role in our ability to reduce the cancer burden. Such drastic budget reductions would have the potential to devastate the nation's standing as the global leader in cutting-edge medical research and scientific discovery, hamper progress in detecting cancer early when it's least expensive to treat and most survivable and severely restrict low-income patients' access to critical safety-net health care coverage through Medicaid.

"On behalf of all those affected by cancer, ACS CAN urges lawmakers to preserve their bipartisan commitment to research and prevention and reject these cuts when crafting the FY 2018 budget."

  • House passed health bill risks pricing cancer patients, survivors out of insurance market

    On May 4, by a vote of 217-213, the U.S. House approved a bill to repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act. It now goes to the Senate, where changes to the bill are expected, meaning it would need to clear the House again.​

    The House-passed bill could leave cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease unable to access or keep quality health insurance. The bill would create a coverage patchwork whereby patients with pre-existing conditions could be charged more for their coverage while simultaneously weakening the rules for what health services will be covered.

    “There is no denying that current law needs improvement, however focusing on lower premiums for healthy people at the expense of the millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions, including more than 16 million cancer survivors, is wrong, said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. "“We call on the Senate to reject this legislation and stand ready to work with all lawmakers to develop policies that improve the law and encourage a strong health insurance market that provides affordable and comprehensive coverage options for those with serious diseases like cancer.”​

    Chris predicts that "the coming debate in the Senate will be a different and a more open process. We will continue to work closely with members of the Senate and our partners to craft legislation that that helps improve the law and guarantees uninterrupted and meaningful health insurance coverage for cancer patients."

    Here is additional reaction from ACS CAN:​

    “Allowing patients to be charged more for coverage based on their health status risks making pre-existing condition protections virtually meaningless. A return to medical underwriting, combined with seriously weakened standards for what constitutes good coverage through the erosion of Essential Health Benefits, sets up a situation whereby payers can cherry-pick their customers and leave patients with serious conditions like cancer with few if any affordable insurance options.

    “High-risk pools have not historically been an adequate safety-net. These programs have been unsustainable and underfunded. High-risk pool enrollees were often charged unaffordable premiums—usually 150-200% higher than the average standard rate—and faced potentially long waiting periods and strict coverage limitations; circumstances that are unacceptable for cancer patients and survivors who need immediate treatment and consistent follow-up care.

    “Additionally, it is unclear how weakening the essential health benefits standards will affect cancer patients’ access to new therapies and key patient protections like the cap on out-of-pocket costs and the prohibition of lifetime and annual limits, both of which are applied only to essential health benefits. This bill could seriously weaken these key protections, jeopardize access to new therapies and leave cancer patients—both in the individual and employer-based market—vulnerable to higher out-of-pocket costs."

    ACS CAN had opposed the bill and urged House members to vote "no" on behalf of the cancer community  Provisions contained in the original bill that led the Congressional Budget Office to conclude that 14 million people would lose coverage next year, including elimination of the Medicaid expansion, remain as key detrimental provisions of the bill. ​

    "Our volunteers and staff have done yeoman’s work over the past three months communicating with their lawmakers and staying informed and visible in this fight. I want to extend a huge thank you to them for responding to the call and giving it their all," Chris said.

  • House passes $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund government through Sept.; $2 billion increase for NIH included

    A bipartisan 2017 budget deal that contains a $2 billion increase in medical research funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $475 million more for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on May 3. The vote was 309 to 118.

    A Senate vote is expected soon, and the bill is expected to land on the President's desk for his signature by end of day Friday, May 5.

    The bill maintains funding for cancer control programs at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), including the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program - and protects tobacco control measures at the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH).

    Passage of the $1.1 trillion package to fund the government through September 30 averts a shutdown of the federal government on Friday.

    Below is a statement Chris Hansen, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), issued earlier this week when congressional leaders announced the bipartisan spending agreement.

    “The $2 billion NIH increase, including $475 million for the National Cancer Institute that allocates $175 million above the commitment to National Cancer Moonshot, will enable our nation to capitalize on our research investment and accelerate the pace of progress against a disease that is projected to kill more than 600,000 Americans this year. Consistent and continual funding increases for the NIH are essential to ensuring researchers can keep innovating and developing new potentially life-saving diagnostic tests, treatments and therapies.

    “In addition, Congress also protected funding for cancer prevention and screening programs at the Centers for Disease Control. These programs, which help screen underinsured and underserved populations for colon and breast cancer, are critical to ensuring all Americans can access necessary cancer prevention and detection services.

    “While research and early detection are essential to reducing cancer incidence and death, a comprehensive approach also requires effectively tackling the number one preventable cause of cancer—tobacco use.  The Office of Smoking and Health (OSH) leads federal efforts to reduce tobacco-related death and disease by funding activities that help prevent youth from starting to use tobacco and help adult tobacco users quit. Congress’ careful consideration to mostly maintain current funding for OSH’s FY17 budget will enable the office to continue carrying out its critical work. And the Food and Drug Administration will continue to be able to use its tobacco regulatory authority over the full range of tobacco products granted under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.

    “The proposed 2017 budget deal overall provides a strong starting point for maintaining momentum against cancer through research, prevention and early detection. On behalf of all those affected by cancer, ACS CAN applauds Congress for prioritizing a disease that is expected to be diagnosed in nearly 1.7 million Americans this year and urges lawmakers to maintain this sense of urgency when crafting the FY 2018 budget.” 

  • ACS CAN Arizona government relations director recognized by Prevent Cancer Foundation for driving positive change

    Brian Hummell, Arizona Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), received the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s® annual Laurel Award for Advocacy at the group’s 2017 Dialogue for Action conference in Washington, DC on April 19.

    Brian, who joined ACS CAN in 2011, was nominated for the award by Virginia Warren, Arizona’s Office Chief, Cancer Prevention and Control, calling him a “champion and a hero for the advocacy he has done in Arizona and the wonderfully positive impact he has had on so many through policy.” Warren also highlighted Brian’s work since 2011 to help ensure that uninsured, low-income Arizona women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer have access to treatment; and, his tireless—and successful--work to help expand Medicaid in the state.
    Marissa Brown, senior vice president, state and local advocacy for ACS CAN, echoed Warren’s assessment, “Brian is a coalition builder who identifies a problem, brings people together to develop a solution and then advocates tirelessly for policy change. We are lucky to have a recognized leader like Brian representing the needs of people with cancer, their caregivers and their families in Arizona.” 
    Since 1985, the Prevent Cancer Foundation®, has invested nearly $142 million in support of cancer prevention research, education, advocacy and outreach programs nationwide and has played a pivotal role in developing a body of knowledge that is the basis for important prevention and early detection strategies. The Foundation created the Cancer Prevention Laurels in 2003 to recognize and celebrate innovators and leaders in the fight against cancer.

  • Chris Hansen's Monthly Advocacy Update


    ACS CAN Hosts National Forum on the Future of Health Care

    On April 11, leaders in business, government, advocacy, academia, and public policy participated in ACS CAN's sixth annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care in Washington, DC.

    The goal of the day-long forum was to examine the next steps in changing our health care system – with a specific look at what cancer patients need from a health care system.

    Experts explored the status of the current health care debate, changes needed to improve access and affordability, market stability, and potential approaches to system change at both the federal and state levels.

    In conjunction with the forum, ACS CAN released a new report, The Costs of Cancer, which examines direct costs associated with cancer with a focus on typical out-of-pocket costs incurred by a cancer patient. The report provides the total amount of out-of-pocket costs U.S. cancer patients nationwide pay for cancer treatment and examines three hypothetical patients with different cancers and what each might pay under employer-sponsored insurance, an individual plan and through Medicare. It does not account for indirect costs surrounding a diagnosis (such as lost productivity/work, legal fees, etc.). The report also suggests state and federal policies that could address patient costs.

    The report underscores the need for patients to look not only at monthly premiums, but also consider the value of their insurance through the lens of up-front costs, deductibles, out of pocket maximums and the adequacy of the coverage they receive for the cost.

    House Republicans Withdraw Bills to Replace Health Care Law

    On March 24, Republican leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew legislation to replace the health care law.

    While preserving some patient protections, the legislation would have had the net effect of shifting health insurance costs to low and middle-income patients. And the inclusion of an increased age-rating would have proven particularly burdensome for cancer patients as incidents of cancer increase with age. The legislation would also have significantly reduced the standards of what constitutes quality insurance, curtailed Medicaid expansion and, over time, substantially reduced overall Medicaid funding.

    ACS CAN's goal from the beginning has been to urge lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to fix the portions of the current law that are not functioning properly so that it is strengthened and improved in ways that reduce the national cancer burden. We have purposely positioned ourselves as a resource to help federal legislators do just that.  As part of that positioning, our staff and volunteers executed a deliberate campaign to educate lawmakers on the adverse impact certain aspects of the proposed legislation would have had on those with a history of cancer or are at risk.

    We elevated the patients voice through volunteer mobilization, media advocacy, social media campaigns, direct lobbying and coalition work, placing a targeted effort on House and Senate members from 15 key states. Our "Keep Us Covered" Campaign placed the voice of cancer patients, survivors and their families front and center of the debate.

    In meetings with lawmakers, patient stories were particularly effective at providing the cancer perspective and illustrating how insurance market reforms in the current law provided greater access to preventative screenings and quality comprehensive health insurance coverage.

    The morning of March 24, before the legislation was ultimately withdrawn, ACS CAN communicated with Members of Congress about last-minute changes meant to appeal to conservative lawmakers. We expressed our concern that removing the essential health benefits standard requirement would be especially problematic for the cancer community.

    Currently, while the House and Senate are in Recess through April 21, ACS CAN staff and volunteers are redoubling efforts to educate lawmakers by attending town halls and scheduling meetings with members in their districts – like this April 11 health care reform dialogue event with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

    While efforts to repeal the health care law are currently delayed, changes continue to be considered. ACS CAN is closely monitoring developments.

    CMS Releases Final ACA Market Stabilization Rule

    Late yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule aimed at stabilizing the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) individual health insurance market. The rule could impede patients' access to special enrollment periods (SEPs), reduce the number of Essential Community Providers with which plans must contract and decrease the actuarial value of some plans sold in the marketplace—leaving patients susceptible to higher out-of-pocket costs.

    ACS CAN submitted detailed comments to CMS March 7, when the rule was first proposed. The final rule, which is largely unchanged from the proposed version, did not address the concerns raised by ACS CAN regarding potential impact on those with a history of cancer.


    • The Arkansas legislature passed a bill that will provide parity in health coverage between oral chemotherapy and IV administered chemotherapy. The legislature also passed a colorectal cancer screening bill setting up a state-wide screening program for underserved individuals. Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed both bills into law making Arkansas the 43rd state with oral chemotherapy parity.
    • On March 1, the Iowa legislature passed a bill allowing pharmacists to substitute interchangeable biologic medications. The measure, signed by Gov. Terry Branstad, met ACS CAN's patient protection standards and there is hope that the substitutions may prove less expensive. The law is effective July 1 and brings the count of states allowing biologic medication substitutions to 23.


    President's Budget Proposes Cuts to Cancer Research

    The President's budget proposal, released March 16, covers funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year (FY17) and next year (FY18). The federal government is the nation's largest single funder of cancer research and prevention. The budget submitted to Congress would:

    • cut funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $1.2 billion;
    • scale back programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including funding for state cancer registries and tobacco control, by $65 million this year (FY17);
    • reduce funding to the NIH by an additional $5.8 billion next year, including an estimated $1 billion cut to the National Cancer Institute (NCI); and
    • cut funding for cancer prevention and other chronic disease programs by half and consolidate them into block grants for states.

    The proposed cut to the NIH budget for next year would constitute the largest reduction in medical research funding in history. If enacted, these cuts would also wipe out funding for the Cancer Moonshot initiative approved by Congress late last year with strong bipartisan support and the enabled funding in the 21st Century Cures Act. It would, in effect, set the NIH back nearly 20 years and prove disastrous.

    The current temporary spending bill expires at the end of April and Congress is working to complete a final FY 2017 spending bill.  ACS CAN's grassroots network has been actively engaged since the budget proposal was released. We are urging lawmakers from all parties to reject these steep budget cuts and sustain critical investment in lifesaving, innovative research and cancer prevention programs by increasing funding for the NIH this year. Roughly 12,000 volunteers have sent more than 36,000 messages to Members of Congress, urging them to protect medical research and prevention funding. Our "#NoCutsforCancer" hashtag has generated 750,000 impressions on Twitter and Instagram. We are also engaging representatives in their home districts during the House and Senate Recess to urge them to protect and expand cancer research funding.

    We are particularly gratified that two of the most influential GOP lawmakers, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, have spoken out against cuts and in support of NIH funding. Sen. Blunt and Rep. Cole each chair the subcommittee with jurisdiction over Health and Human Services appropriations. These key committees set funding levels for the NIH. Both Sen. Blunt and Rep. Cole have made known their intention to press instead for Congress to raise, rather than cut, the institutes' annual $32 billion budget.

    ACS CAN continues mobilize and engage representatives in their home districts during the House and Senate Recess to urge them to support cancer research funding.


    State & Local Advances

    Kentucky passed legislation requiring all state insurers, including Medicaid and private insurers, to cover treatments recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for tobacco cessation. 

    Notable tobacco control measures advanced in other communities as well.


    • Two new local smoke-free ordinances, both including e-cigarettes, recently passed in the cities of Brookshire and New Braunfels, Texas. Even without a statewide smoke-free law, the size of Texas coupled with its number of similar local laws, mean that only four other states protect more residents from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places.
    • The cities of West Covina and Benicia, California each enacted a smoke-free parks ordinance. Benicia's ordinance became effective immediately and prohibits smoking in all parks, recreation trails and recreation facilities.
    • Beverly Hills, California strengthened its smoke-free outdoor dining ordinance by adopting amendments extending smoking regulations surrounding open-air dining from 5 to 20 feet and include public rights-of-way such as sidewalks and alleyways.
    • In Pennsylvania, the Allegheny County Council, which includes the greater Pittsburgh area, passed an ACS CAN-backed measure to include e-cigarettes in the county's smoke-free law. The ordinance took effect on March 20.
    • On March 6, Howard County, Indiana passed a comprehensive smoke-free ordinance, including e-cigs, and simultaneously strengthened the existing ordinance in its county seat, Kokomo, by extending to bars and private clubs. The indoor measures were effective April 1, and will extend to events at outdoor parks on July 1.
    • On March 8, the Minneapolis Parks Board passed a policy making all city parks, recreation facilities, and buildings tobacco-free, including e-cigs and other tobacco products. Often ranked as the best city park system in the country, Minneapolis parks cover almost 7,000 acres and host over 21 million visits annually. The measure is effective May 8.


    • Guam currently has the highest adult smoking rate in the United States and its territories. On March 22, Guam's bill to raise the age of tobacco purchase to 21. A unanimous legislative vote was garnered by tireless advocacy of ACS CAN volunteers, including gathering over 1,500 petition signatures and presenting testimony by military veterans. The T21 measure (effective Jan 1, 2018) combined with last year's smoke-free law, should have a dramatic effect on future tobacco consumption.
    • Trenton, New Jersey raised the age of permissible sale of tobacco products from 19 to 21. The ACS CAN-backed measure became effective on March 8. 
    • On April 13, a newly-passed ordinance in Lane County, Oregon will prohibit anyone under age 21 from purchasing tobacco products.


    Arkansas Passes Palliative Care Bill

    Palliative care legislation which recently passed both legislative houses in Arkansas has been signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. This new law will call attention to the importance of palliative care by setting up a review committee and providing an outlet for the Arkansas Department of Health to share palliative care resources on its website. 


    ACS CAN Hosts Group Effort to End Cervical Cancer Deaths Worldwide

    On March 21, ACS CAN hosted a meeting of 23 organizations prepared to participate in an advocacy campaign to end cervical cancer deaths worldwide. The meeting, led in collaboration with Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon (PRRR), examined cervical cancer advocacy efforts to date, wrestled with messaging and approaches to Congress and executive branch agencies, and decided on follow-on actions. Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, an independent affiliate of the George W. Bush Institute, is a global partnership of national governments, non-governmental (NGO) and multilateral organizations, foundations and corporations with a shared goal of reducing deaths from cervical cancer and breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries. 

    Agreeing that cervical cancer should be a part of America's global health assistance program, the group is planning a Capitol Hill Day on April 25 in Washington, DC. Other advocacy actions underway include the circulation of sign-on letters to generate policymaker support and the inclusion of cervical cancer in future discussions with U.S. Government officials. These actions reinforce requests that ACS CAN and PRRR are making to congressional appropriators for specific language to be included in the FY18 State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill.

  • New ACS CAN report examines expected patient out-of-pocket costs for common cancer diagnoses

    Cancer has a tremendous financial impact on patients and survivors, and their families, according a new American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) report.

    The Costs of Cancer, Addressing Patient Costs is the first ACS CAN report to examine the costs of treating cancer, and specifically the out-of-pocket portion patients face. Using three hypothetical patient profiles, the report looks at costs for three of the most common cancers—breast, lung, and colorectal under three types of insurance—employer-sponsored, Medicare, and an individual exchange plan.

    The report was released this morning at the organization's sixth annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care in Washington, D.C. The day-long forum is an opportunity for leaders in business, advocacy, academia, and public policy to come together to talk about changes in the health insurance market, and what cancer patients need from a health care system.

    Key report findings include:

    • U.S. cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2014, and the disease cost the country $87.8 billion in cancer-related health care spending.
    • A lower-premium insurance plan may not actually save cancer patients money in the long run. These types of plans often have high cost-sharing and cancer patients are high utilizers of care.
    • Even with insurance, cancer patients often face unpredictable or unmanageable costs including high co-insurance, high deductibles, having to seek out-of-network care, and needing a treatment that is not covered by their health plan.

    The report also provides public policy recommendations for making cancer treatments more affordable for patients and survivors.

    The full Cost of Cancer report is available at

    Access to quality health insurance is essential to making cancer care affordable for patients and survivors. ACS CAN is working to ensure people affected by cancer maintain access to uninterrupted insurance coverage, and those who are currently uninsured gain access to coverage that includes recommended cancer prevention and treatment. 

  • Health groups: Justice Department should recuse lawyers who represented tobacco companies from tobacco-related cases

    On March 27, four leading public health groups (including ACS CAN) urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to recuse any lawyers who previously represented tobacco companies from any tobacco-related litigation while serving in the government.

    The letter​ specifically expresses concerns about Noel Francisco, the nominee for solicitor general, and Chad Readler, currently acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Division, both of whom represented R.J. Reynolds in lawsuits against the government while they were partners at the law firm Jones Day.

    “Such recusals are essential to ensure the appearance of impartiality and to give the public the greatest possible confidence that decisions about the federal government’s litigation positions are taken solely based on the facts and the law to advance the public health and public interest,” the health groups wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

    The letter was sent by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Heart Association, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids,  and Truth Initiative.​

    Francisco, the nominee for solicitor general, has long represented R.J. Reynolds in tobacco litigation. While at Jones Day, he represented R.J. Reynolds in the still-ongoing litigation over a U.S. district court order – issued in the government’s civil racketeering (RICO) lawsuit against the tobacco companies – that requires R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies to publish corrective statements about the health risks of smoking and other topics. The case resulted in a landmark judgment that tobacco companies have engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deceive the American people. The tobacco company defendants are continuing to challenge the wording of the corrective statements, requiring the DOJ to defend them.

    Francisco also represented R.J. Reynolds in two lawsuits challenging provisions of the 2009 law granting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority over tobacco products. Among other things, these cases challenged the constitutionality of requiring graphic warning labels on cigarette packs and advertising, a topic that continues to be the subject of litigation.

    “Given his prominent role in representing the tobacco industry in litigation, Mr. Francisco should not be permitted to participate in the government’s defense of laws he attacked in private practice or laws that his former client attacks in the future,” the letter states.

    Readler, the acting assistant attorney general of the Civil Division, regularly represented R.J. Reynolds when he was a partner at Jones Day. During that time, R.J. Reynolds submitted comments to the FDA opposing, on First Amendment and other grounds, parts of the recent rule that established FDA oversight of electronic cigarettes, cigars and other previously unregulated tobacco products. Tobacco companies have filed several challenges to this rule, including one case – Cyclops Vapor 2, LLC v. U.S. Food & Drug Admin. – that argues part of the rule violates the First Amendment.

    Despite the fact that his previous client, R.J. Reynolds, has made the same arguments, Readler has been listed as counsel representing the government in this case. Before Readler joined the DOJ, the department vigorously defended the FDA rule. With Readler now on the case, the government filed a motion requesting an extension “to more fully consider the issues raised.”

    Readler’s participation in this case or related litigation “is not appropriate and, if continued, would give the appearance of a conflict of interest and risk the reputation of the DOJ for strict adherence to well recognized ethical standards,” the letter argues.

    ​The health groups also call for the recusal policy to apply throughout the government.

    “We believe that existing ethical standards would be compromised if any former partner of Jones Day, which has worked tirelessly on behalf of the tobacco industry, participates in the DOJ’s defense of tobacco regulations or other actions by FDA affecting the industry. This recusal policy should apply not only to lawyers in DOJ, but also to lawyers in the White House Counsel’s Office and attorneys who work at federal agencies.  It also should apply to lawyers from other law firms that have participated in litigation on behalf of tobacco-industry clients,” the letter states.​

  • ACS CAN reacts to withdrawal of health care bill

    On March 24, the U.S. House of Representatives withdrew the proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act within minutes of debate concluding.

    Earlier in the day, House Speaker Paul Ryan had told President Trump that the American Health Care Act did not have the votes to pass.​ 

    ACS CAN had publicly opposed the draft legislation because, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the bill would have significantly reduced the number of individuals covered across the country, and increased the cost to be paid by patients while compromising quality of coverage for those who remained insured. 

    "ACS CAN communicated with the members of Congress again Friday morning that last-minute changes meant to appeal to the conservatives, including removing the essential health benefits package requirement, were particularly problematic for the cancer community," said Chris Hansen, ACS CAN president.

    He said "ACS CAN staff and volunteers executed a deliberate campaign to educate lawmakers on the adverse impact the legislation would have had on those with a history of cancer. A good number of the key lawmakers ACS CAN engaged had publicly announced their opposition before the vote was canceled. When all was said and done, one key poll showed only 17 percent of the public supported the House GOP proposal."

    Chris added: "While this particular proposal has been stopped, the administration may seek to make changes within its executive authority to change the law, and Congress may wish to bring up this issue again in a different way. ACS CAN will continue to monitor next steps and remains committed to working with and advising lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to try and achieve needed changes to the law to improve affordability and network adequacy.​"

    You can read the letter ACS CAN sent to lawmakers on March 24​

  • Congressional Budget Office projects 14 million Americans will lose health coverage in 2018 under House-proposed health care law

    On March 13, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an estimate of the impact of the American Health Care Act on the number of insured individuals, compared to those covered under current law, as well as the potential cost implications for those individuals who remain covered.

    The nonpartisan CBO projects that under the House-proposed legislation, the number of uninsured will increase by 14 million in 2018, 21 million by 2020, and then 24 million by 2026, relative to current law.  In the end, CBO estimates that by the year 2026, an estimated 52 million Americans will be uninsured if the House bill passes, compared to 28 million Americans who are estimated to be uninsured under current law Those purchasing coverage in the individual market can expect average premiums to be 15 to 20 percent higher relative to current law in 2018 and 2019.

    A statement from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President Chris Hansen follows:

    "The CBO analysis confirms earlier projections that the legislation under consideration by the House to repeal portions of the health care law will dramatically reduce the number of individuals who have health insurance in this country.

    "We are deeply concerned that cancer patients, survivors and those at risk of cancer who long faced barriers to adequate, affordable coverage may again find themselves unable to access coverage necessary to prevent and treat a disease that is expected to kill more than 600,000 people in America this year.

    "While we acknowledge current law should be improved, the current House proposal takes us in the opposite direction -- threatening to eliminate the safety net coverage Medicaid provides for hard-working individuals who face an unexpected illness and reducing financial assistance for low- and middle-income families who may otherwise be unable to afford coverage. Proposed changes to coverage requirements could also result in increased cost-sharing and deductibles for many compared with current law.

    "ACS CAN stands ready to work with lawmakers to find a solution that maintains patient protections and ensures meaningful, adequate coverage is available to prevent and treat cancer."  

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