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ACS CAN submits testimony on health disparities

Aims to reduce disparities in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and care

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) submitted testimony on June 17 to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the topic of racial and ethnic disparities in the health care system that often result in an unequal cancer burden. 

The hearing is focused on disparities in the overall health care system, as well as those around COVID-19.

ACS CAN is working to create equity by supporting policies that:
  • Ensure everyone has access to affordable, quality health insurance coverage, including expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income individuals
  • Maintain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as patient protections that improve availability and affordability of quality care that aid lower socioeconomic status and racial/ethnic groups
  • Ensure all health insurance – regardless of payer – provides coverage for essential, evidencebased early detection and preventive services with no additional patient cost sharing
  • Increase funding for community health centers and the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which provides community-based breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment services through the Medicaid program to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women – a majority of whom are from racial/ethnic minority groups
  • Ensure that qualified health plans provide materials in appropriate languages and access to language translation services
  • Ensure clinical trials enroll diverse patient populations that reflect the broader patient population with cancer (e.g., The Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act (H.R. 1966))
  • Guarantee coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with a life-threatening condition (e.g., The Clinical Treatment Act (H.R. 913))
  • Engage community leaders and community-based organizations – especially those serving racial and ethnic minority groups as well as medically underserved communities – to effectively disseminate information about the importance of clinical research participation as a social justice issue
  • Increase access to comprehensive tobacco cessation programs in Medicaid and private insurance plans to provide counseling and state quit lines to individuals of lower SES who have higher smoking rates than other populations

ACS CAN works on evidence-based public policies at all levels of government that seek to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes, including decreasing disparities in cancer screening and early detection, improving access to health care and insurance coverage, and greater access to cancer research and clinical trials.

Read the full testimony submitted to the committee.

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