Spotlights include activities from across the nation, Women's History Month, event replays, and federal priorities.
A message from ACS CAN President Lisa Lacasse
It was truly a pleasure to convene with our ACS and ACS CAN Boards of Directors in Washington, D.C., last month to discuss our mission priorities that drive us toward our shared vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. The support of our volunteer leadership is paramount to our success, and we left invigorated, ready to continue to tackle an already fast-moving 2023 agenda.
With state legislatures in session in all 50 states, DC, Guam and Puerto Rico, I’m proud to report that ACS CAN’s advocacy, powered by our dedicated team members, volunteers and board leaders, is in full swing. We are working to increase access to care, fund critical cancer control and prevention programs and ensure the patient voice is elevated in policy discussions nationwide. Our state and local teams have successfully executed many Cancer Action Days mobilizing hundreds of volunteers to advocate for Medicaid expansion, tobacco control, biomarker testing coverage, funding for breast and cervical cancer early detection programs and patient navigation funding.
In what was a blistery cold February in some states, our volunteers’ tenacity was in full force, weathering blizzard conditions to make their all-important voices heard by lawmakers at state capitals. At ACS CAN’s Minnesota Day at the Capitol event, plans were challenged with a winter storm forecasted to drop 12-24 inches of snow. But we persevered! Forty-seven brave advocates attended to meet with 42 lawmakers and do 24 drop-offs.
Last week we witnessed hard work pay off, celebrating a long-fought Medicaid expansion victory in North Carolina for 600,000 people in the coverage gap. North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger and House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore announced a long-awaited deal on expanding Medicaid eligibility in the state, committing to finalizing its passage via the FY 2023 budget. Join me in congratulating the dedicated ACS CAN team members and volunteers who led a relentless campaign to help make this happen! We are expecting this bill to pass over the summer.
Now one week into March, Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, our DC presence continues to shine. ACS and ACS CAN CEO Dr. Karen Knudsen and I will join other health organizations at the White House this Friday at the Cancer Moonshot Colorectal Cancer Forum. This event will bring together patients, oncologists, researchers, advocates and more to discuss progress and opportunities in screening, access to care and treatments. Dr. Knudsen will participate as a panelist and share findings from ACS’s recent release of Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures 2023-2025, showing colorectal cancer is swiftly shifting to more advanced disease and younger individuals. Please follow our Twitter handles @AmericanCancer @ACSCAN @LLacasseACSCAN @AmerCancerCEO to see highlights on this important engagement.
Thank you for your continued support.
Join us in celebrating Women’s History Month!
Happy International Women’s Day! I am proud to serve with so many phenomenal women at ACS, ACS CAN and beyond. This month we are celebrating the contributions of the spectacular women who have made a difference in our fight against cancer. We will feature and celebrate these women on our social channels and internally, our ACS enterprise will learn about the journeys of colleagues from all pillars of our work, including our very own Tammy Boyd, vice president, Federal Advocacy & Strategic Alliances.
In Case You Missed it.
Catch the replay of Black Volunteer Caucus Fireside Chat: Prostate Cancer's Burden in the Black Community: Saving Ourselves through Patient-Centered Solutions moderated by ACS CAN Board member David Ford. Watch here.
Last week our ACS and ACS CAN team enjoyed a powerful conversation featuring Vice Chair of the ACS CAN Board Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, PhD, called “Black Resistance through Resilience and the Fight for Equity“ in honor of Black History Month. Thank you to all program participants for lending your important voice. Watch here.
Don’t miss ACS CAN’s 12th annual National Forum on the Future of Health Care on May 10. The event will be both virtual and in-person. We hope you will still register and participate virtually if you can't travel to DC. Register here.
Federal Priority Updates
As we shared at the recent ACS CAN Board meeting, our 2023 federal priorities include increasing access to and affordability of care, cancer prevention, early detection, and screening, including an increased emphasis on prostate cancer and equitable access to innovation and clinical trials. As we head into a critical few months ahead, we are still working to make cancer research a top priority for lawmakers.
- OVAC Lobby Day: ACS CAN founded and continues to lead the One Voice Against Cancer Coalition (OVAC), a group of over 50 public interest groups representing millions of cancer researchers, physicians and nurses, patients, survivors and their families, all focused on long-term, sustained funding for cancer research and prevention on the federal level. Yesterday 20 ACS CAN volunteers traveled to DC, joining 65 additional cancer advocates from OVAC member organizations to urge members of Congress to support $51 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $9.988 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
- The Prostate Specific Antigen for High-Risk Insured Men (PSA for HIM) Act is expected to be introduced this week by Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Yvette Clark (D-NY). ACS CAN is working to secure bipartisan Senate cosponsors. The bill will waive prostate screening deductibles, co-payments and co-insurances for men at high risk – African American men and those with family histories of prostate cancer.
- The Medicare Multiple Cancer Early Detection Screening Act (MCED) is expected to be introduced this week by Reps. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) and Terri Sewell (D-AL). The bill aims to improve access to new and innovative cancer screenings among Medicare beneficiaries to increase the earlier detection of more cancers for more individuals. The Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2023 would create a pathway for Medicare to cover multi-cancer screening tests once approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and proven to have clinical benefit.
According to the most recent ACS CAN Survivor Views survey, cost is considered the most important factor when it comes to comparing coverage options (43%), but the right mix of covered benefits is also essential. Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents cited the benefits package as the reason for choosing their current plan. The survey was timed to coincide with the end of open enrollment for many Americans when choosing health insurance was top of mind. Read more.
State & Local Advances
South Dakota: A proposal that would have paved the way to work requirements for expanded Medicaid recipients by putting the question to voters on a future ballot recently died in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
California: The US Supreme Court refused to hear RJ Reynolds' appeal of the LA County restriction on sales of all flavored tobacco products, which had argued that only the federal government - not state or local governments - has the legal authority to regulate tobacco products. The justices turned away the appeal of a lower court's decision to uphold the ban, making it clear that the Court will not take up similar cases against state laws.
Biomarker Bills in Colorado, Florida, Georgia and New Mexico: In Colorado, a biomarker bill passed out of the House Health & Insurance Committee. In Florida, Rep. Karen Gonzalez Pittman filed a bill that would allow more Floridians to receive biomarker testing and Sen. Tom Wright filed a companion bill in the Senate. The Georgia House and the New Mexico House also passed biomarker bills.
Advocacy in the News - Highlights