Next week, nearly 700 cancer advocates, including patients, survivors and their loved ones, from all 50 states and territories will dial into calls and log onto virtual meetings to ask members of Congress to make the fight against cancer a national priority as part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) annual Leadership Summit and Lobby Day. This year’s event coincides with ACS CAN’s 20th anniversary. The advocates will represent nearly every congressional district.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ACS will again host Leadership Summit and Lobby Day virtually from Sunday through Wednesday, September 26-29. This year, advocates will be asking their lawmakers to:
- Support increased funding for cancer research and prevention programs, with at least $51.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $7.6 billion for cancer research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and $559 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) cancer programs, including $275 million for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). Advocates are running a digital ad campaign to highlight NBCCEDP and its need for more funding. The ads will run in digital publications in the Washington, D.C. market through October 1.
- Ensure that the expanded Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax credits are made permanent. The additional subsidies, which Congress approved in 2021 for people to purchase health coverage in the ACA marketplaces, are scheduled to expire at the end of 2022.
- Cosponsor the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021, which would make sure that Medicare enrollees have timely access to innovative blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests.
ACS CAN will also recognize hardworking staff and volunteers for their outstanding work in cancer advocacy. Check ACS2Go for a full list of 2021 advocacy award recipients. In addition, the organization will honor a select group of lawmakers and others who have made exemplary contributions to the fight against cancer. The National Distinguished Advocacy Award, ACS CAN’s most prestigious honor, will be presented to Rhode Island State Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Rhode Island State Representative Mia Ackerman for championing state legislation that eliminates follow-up colonoscopy cost-sharing; Illinois State Representative Mary Flowers for her long-time commitment to health issues; U.S. Representative Donald Payne Jr. (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) their work on colorectal cancer screening coverage legislation.
ACS CAN’s Judicial Advocacy Initiative award, which recognizes attorneys who generously donate their services to the cancer fight, will be presented to Joseph R. Palmore of Morrison & Foerster, LLP for his tremendous work fighting inadequate health coverage offered by short-term limited-duration insurance plans and opposing a rule that would have permitted health care providers to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals and taken away some rights of individuals with limited English proficiency.
Throughout Leadership Summit and Lobby Day, ACS CAN will be hosting its annual silent auction, which will be held online. Please visit www.fightcancer.org/2021lsldsilentauction to learn more and take part. Proceeds from the silent auction will help ACS CAN further its advocacy work.
Please follow the #CancerLobbyDay hashtag on social media to see live updates and photos during Leadership Summit & Lobby Day.
Photo Credit: Posted on Facebook by ACS CAN Maine, this image was captured during a meeting with U.S. Senator Susan Collins and Sarah Khasawinah on virtual Lobby Day 2020.