2019 New Jersey Legislative Priorities
Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. In 2019, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the New Jersey Legislature in support of the following priorities:
Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
- ACS CAN seeks a $1.65 increase in the New Jersey cigarette tax rate, to spur those who smoke to quit, and to prevent young people from starting. ACS CAN will advocate for a portion of the increased revenue to be dedicated to resources for tobacco prevention and cessation.
- Tobacco Control Program Funding: ACS CAN continues to seek the restoration of funding for the New Jersey Tobacco Control Program. State funding for the program had previously been $30 million, before dropping to zero for a period of five years. The FY2019 budget included $7 million from the one percent cigarette tax dedication for tobacco control programs and $500,000 for tobacco cessation.
- ACS CAN will also advocate to ensure coverage of tobacco cessation treatments for Medicaid enrollees. Currently, New Jersey provides only partial coverage for medications used for tobacco cessation and does not provide coverage of any form of counseling specifically for tobacco cessation.
Cancer Research, Prevention, and Early Detection
- Cancer Research: In the FY2019 state budget, funding for the NJ Commission on Cancer Research (NJCCR) was secured at $2 million, and revenues are added to it as generated by the current taxpayer filer and license fee programs. ACS CAN will advocate for the maintenance of this appropriation, as well as the maintenance of the current appropriations for the Cancer Institute of NJ and the South Jersey Cancer Program in Camden.
- Breast, Cervical, Prostate, and Colorectal Cancer Screenings: ACS CAN will advocate to preserve level funding of $9.5 million for the New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program (NJCEED). This important program provides low-income uninsured New Jersey residents with potentially lifesaving cancer screenings including mammograms, pap tests, and colonoscopies. With almost one million uninsured New Jerseyans, state funding for cancer screenings is of increased importance.
Improving Quality of Life for Patients and Survivors
- Palliative Care: ACS CAN will continue to work to improve cancer patients’ quality of life through the creation of a Palliative Care and Quality of Life Advisory Council to identify barriers to the availability of coordinated, supportive care during treatment from the beginning of diagnosis of serious diseases such as cancer.
Improving Access to Care for Patients and Survivors
- ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to regulate the use of insurer step therapy or fail first policies to ensure that they are used appropriately. Step therapy policies are used by health insurers to require a patient to try and fail on other drug options before coverage is granted for the medication initially prescribed by the patient’s health care provider.
- ACS CAN will also continue to monitor the impact that a new law placing restrictions on initial opioid prescriptions has had on prescribing practices in the state and the impact on cancer survivors specifically.
Indoor Tanning Access
- ACS CAN will advocate to amend the law enacted in 2013 (P.L.2013, c.39.), to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices by those under the age of 18 with no exemptions. Current law provides 17-year old’s can use UV radiation devices provided a parent or legal guardian provides written consent.
Healthy Eating and Active Living Environments
ACS CAN will work with policymakers to plan, implement, and evaluate HEALE priority issues:
- Increase the quantity and improving the quality of physical education in K-12 schools, supplemented by additional school-based physical activity.
- Increase funding for policy, scientific and population-based research and interventions focused on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and reducing obesity, with the goal of reducing cancer risk.
- Work to secure funding for infrastructure and programs aimed at increasing physical activity in transportation and recreation.
- Increase access to healthy foods.
For more information, contact: Sam DeAlmeida, NJ Director of Government Relations, ACS CAN