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New report highlights ACS CAN's 2020 wins

Also available is a new infographic in both English and Spanish.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Advocacy Accomplishments Report 2020 is now available.

The report highlights ACS CAN's incredible accomplishments over the past year despite the tremendous difficulties posed by COVID-19.

The 2020 report is available in a new digital format that is more visual and interactive. It can be accessed at fightcancer.org/accomplishments. An accessible version of the report is available, as well.

In addition to the annual report, an infographic is available in both English and Spanish.

Please share the Advocacy Accomplishments Report 2020 with colleagues, fellow volunteers, partners, family, and friends to help underscore the critical importance of advocacy in the continued fight against cancer.  
 


  • Join ACS CAN's 10th annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care

    On April 27, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET, ACS CAN will host its 10th annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care. 

    This year’s event, which will take place during National Minority Health Month, will focus on breaking down barriers to care for all people with cancer. Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, chair of the U.S. COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force, will be the keynote speaker.

    This free, virtual event is open to the public. Please register at www.fightcancer.org/nationalforum and feel free to share the link with others.

    While the Affordable Care Act has helped more people with cancer access the health care services they need to treat their disease, barriers to care continue to exist for them. Disparities in access to screenings, coverage and treatment are commonplace in the health care system. 

    The forum will provide an opportunity for leaders in industry, government, patient advocacy, research and development, and technology to discuss exciting new approaches to breaking down the barriers that prevent people with cancer, especially those who have experienced inequities in care, from fully accessing new and innovative screening, treatment and clinical trials.

  • ACS CAN 20th anniversary materials available

    New materials highlighting ACS CAN's 20th anniversary and its tremendous impact in the fight against cancer are now available on a new landing page on ACS CAN's website to commemorate the milestone: fightcancer.org/20years.   

    New materials include:  

    • Milestone Timeline sharing more than 50 public policy and grassroots advocacy highlights since 2001.  
    • Impact Infographic highlighting the significant influence our grassroots and mission efforts have had on the fight against cancer. The impact infographic is also available in Spanish.

    The landing page and new materials can be shared with both new and potential volunteers, partners and other stakeholders. To access the materials, visit fightcancer.org/20years to download. 

    Please contact Mariah Monks if you have issues accessing the materials.  

  • Medicaid Covers US short film earns 8th award

    A short film produced in part by ACS and ACS CAN won the SOFIE Award (also known as the Short Film Award) for Best Directing of a Short Film.

    On the Edge: Health Care in Alabama features community members and health professionals from across Alabama sharing their challenges and triumphs as they strive to take care of themselves, their families, and their communities. The SOFIE is the 8th award that the short film has received.

    On the Edge: Health Care in Alabama, which premiered in November 2019, goes into several rural areas and looks at the role Medicaid plays in local economies and hospitals. The short film underscores the critical need for Medicaid coverage for millions that need health insurance.

    This is the second short film in a documentary series about the importance of Medicaid. The series can be viewed at www.medicaidcoversus.org/films

    ACS and ACS CAN partnered with filmmaker Ky Dickens to produce the series, which is part of the Medicaid Covers US project, which aims to create an open dialogue about the critical role Medicaid plays in helping Americans stay healthy, go to work and care for their families. 

    Visit ACS CAN’s Increased Access to Medicaid campaign page and Medicaid Covers US page to learn more. Also visit www.theshortfilmwards.com to learn more about the SOFIE awards.


  • Legislation aims to help more people quit smoking

    It would ensure Medicaid enrollees have access to all FDA-approved cessation products.

    New legislation introduced March 23 would make permanent a change in Medicaid coverage for cessation services implemented in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    Evidence-based cessation services include the seven FDA-approved medications and individual, group, and telephone counseling. Before the Quit Because of Covid-19 Act passed last year, state Medicaid programs were only required to provide cessation services to pregnant women, a requirement under the Affordable Care Act. This new law would ensure Medicaid enrollees trying to quit tobacco have all evidence-based resources available to them to increase their odds of success.

    The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

    “Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death nationwide and it is responsible for roughly one-third of all cancer deaths. Tobacco cessation services are a key component in a comprehensive strategy to reduce death and disease from tobacco use and their associated health care costs. ACS CAN has long advocated at the state and federal level to include coverage for all FDA-approved cessation services within state Medicaid plans. Medicaid enrollees smoke at more than twice the rate of adults on private health insurance. Ensuring they have access to all FDA-approved cessation services will save lives.

    “In the midst of a pandemic that attacks one’s respiratory system, including coverage for proven cessation services in Medicaid is paramount and ACS CAN supported Congress’ action to do so in the summer of 2020. However, that need will remain long after COVID-19 is under control. The tobacco industry has long targeted people with lower incomes, luring them into a lifetime of addiction. It’s imperative we counter that discrimination and ensure these individuals who want to quit have the opportunity to do so by making coverage for all FDA-approved cessation services permanent in state Medicaid programs.

    “If we are to make progress in preventing and reducing tobacco use, and tobacco-related disease like cancer, it’s critical we take steps like this one to help residents disproportionally affected by tobacco to avoid and quit this deadly product. “


  • ACS and ACS CAN issue statement on the Georgia voting law

    The American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) are committed to reducing cancer incidence and deaths nationwide. Fighting cancer is as much a matter of public policy change as it is scientific discovery, and our elected officials are critical to advancing public policy change that will impact the trajectory of this disease.

    Cancer patients, survivors, and their families -- like all Americans -- must have equal access to the democratic process in order to engage, educate, and influence public health policies that directly affect their health and wellbeing. Everyone should be counted, and their voices should be heard.

    Cancer patients’ engagement and trust in government, critical to reducing the cancer burden, is harmed by any law that erodes access to voting. The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN will continue to speak out on measures that threaten to weaken cancer patients’ voices to influence their governments in the fight against cancer.

  • House committee focuses on strengthening the ACA

    ​Its March 23 hearing on several bills  marks the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding a hearing today—the 11th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law—on several bills aimed at strengthening it.

    The bills include funding for outreach and enrollment efforts, money for more navigators to help people find and select coverage, limiting access to short-term limited duration health plans, and bills to reduce premiums and encourage Medicaid expansion, among others.

    The hearing follows this month’s passage of the American Rescue Plan, which included numerous provisions to improve access and affordability to health coverage during the ongoing pandemic, including increased subsidies to cover the costs of marketplace health plans, financial support to cover all of the premium costs for laid off workers who choose to keep their employer-sponsored health care plans, and additional federal funding for the 12 states which have yet to expand their Medicaid programs to do so and give millions of people access to quality coverage.

    A statement on today’s hearing and the ACA anniversary from Lisa Lacasse, president of ACS CAN follows:

    “Congressional focus on improving access and affordability of quality health coverage to millions of Americans is critical, particularly for the many who might otherwise be unable to receive timely cancer screenings, adequate treatment and long-term follow-up services without the health care law or the just-passed additional financial assistance.

    “The passage of the ACA 11 years ago marked the first time millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, were no longer at risk of being denied or charged more for their health care based on their health history. They were finally able to rely on their insurance to cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs or hospital stays without arbitrary lifetime or annual caps. The law also guaranteed that routine mammograms, colonoscopies and other proven cancer screenings would be covered at no additional costs.

    “Yet the onslaught of regulatory changes put forth by the previous administration—including rules that allowed for the proliferation of certain plans that weakened some of the law’s patient protections and brought back egregious insurance practices, like pre-existing condition denials and arbitrary coverage limits—necessitate swift action to reverse and correct course. We’re pleased to see Congress is taking this opportunity to further strengthen the law. We look forward to continuing to work with all lawmakers on numerous ways they can help ensure cancer patients and their families have access to quality affordable health care now and in the years to come.”


  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services put patients first

    It rejects the proposed change that could have risked cancer patients’ timely access to prescription drugs.

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week that it will not proceed with additional flexibilities to a Part D Payment Modernization Model that would have allowed participating Medicare Part D plans to limit coverage of drugs within the “six protected drug classes."

    The additional flexibilities—proposed under the prior administration—would have allowed plans to treat drugs within the six protected classes as any other Part D drugs, meaning Part D plans could choose to no longer cover or substantially restrict all drugs within these classes. These changes could have delayed cancer patients’ timely access to therapies.

    By halting the change, Medicare Part D plan sponsors participating in the Part D Payment Modernization Model will continue to be required to cover all or substantially all drug therapies in the designated six protected classes, including oncology drugs, once they are approved by the FDA.

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

    “We’re thrilled that patient voices and concerns were heard and that this proposed change will not move forward. Ensuring cancer patients have access to the latest, most innovative, and often times the only treatment for their type of cancer, is essential. Delayed access to prescription medicines can have dramatic consequences for cancer patients, which is why the cancer therapies were included among these protected classes to begin with.

    “Halting this proposed change was the right thing for patients, as this action will preserve critical patient access to innovative treatments.”


  • Bill would ensure Medicare covers multi-cancer screenings

    ACS CAN-backed legislation would improve access to innovative screenings for Medicare beneficiaries.

    A bill re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 16 aims to improve access to new and innovative cancer screenings among Medicare beneficiaries in order to increase early detection of more cancers for more Americans. 

    The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would establish a Medicare benefit category for multi-cancer screening tests and would allow the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage for blood-based tests and future multi-cancer testing innovations. The following is a statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

    “Detecting cancer early can be the difference between life and death. When cancer is caught early, it is often easier and less costly to treat, and patients are more likely to survive. The importance of early detection has been made clear with widespread adoption of screenings like mammograms and colonoscopies, leading to a substantial reduction in mortality. As science evolves, so should Medicare coverage of multi-cancer screening tests to ensure patients have access to the test the patient and their provider deem best for them.

    “With Americans ages 65 and older being more than seven times more likely than younger Americans to be diagnosed with cancer, it’s critical we work to ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to new and innovative screenings. This legislation would create a direct pathway for access to multi-cancer screenings and incentivizes innovation essential to continuing progress in the fight against cancer. By modernizing Medicare and creating a benefit for multi-cancer early detection tests that would allow CMS to initiate an evidence-based coverage process following FDA approval, we can further reduce suffering and death from cancer and further our goal of reducing health disparities.

    “ACS CAN is grateful to Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) for being lead sponsor on this bill and Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Richard Hudson (R-NC), and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) for being original sponsors. We look forward to working with both the House and Senate to see it passed.”


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