2021 Legislative Priorities in Michigan

Access to health care for cancer patients, survivors, and their families
Create fairness for patients when obtaining Oral Chemotherapy treatment. Treatments for cancer have continued to evolve over the past several decades. Before the traditional treatments for cancer including surgery and intravenous drugs. Today’s medicine has advanced where treatment can be taken with a simple pill. Medicine has evolved but the insurance industry has not. Oral treatments for cancer patients have seen an incline on the cost of the treatments which is putting them out of reach. Over 40 states have addressed this issue providing fairness for cancer treatments. Michigan does not have fairness for cancer patients, leaving patients making critical decisions about their treatment and health. We need fairness to provide access to the critical medications patients need.

Increase funding for tobacco prevention
Ensure adequate funding for the state Tobacco Prevention Program. State funds are needed to promote and implement evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent cancer through the Michigan Tobacco quitline. At the current funding rate, the quitline is only available for a select few in Michigan. Traditionally the quitline was operating year-round but with the funding cuts, they are only able to operate ten months out of the year. We need to increase the fund to not only keep the quitline open year-round for the select groups they serve but raise enough funding to allow the program to serve all Michiganders.


Additional Priorities

Access to health care for cancer patients, survivors, and their families
Advances in cancer treatment and therapies have transformed cancer into a diagnosis that can be treated more effectively with fewer side effects. Access to these drugs is critical to the health and wellness of all cancer patients statewide. Currently, some protections are provided to those under cancer treatment in the Medicaid program in Michigan. A few patients enjoy the protections that eliminate the hurdles for patients to gain access to their treatment. ACS CAN will continue to advocate that those protections are provided throughout the Medicaid system, providing the needed protections to ensure that patients and physicians will be reasonable access to the clinically appropriate medications.

Treatment Stability For all Michigan’s Patients
Currently, the practice of Non-Medical Switching is happening to Michigan’s cancer patients. This practice is when a medication is switched at the pharmacists by means of the insurers and their policies, not by the physician and their orders. This can leave patients to have severe side effects and hinder their treatment for cancer and other condition. ACS CAN supports efforts to limit those changes during the middle of the plan year for Michigan’s patients.

Increase Michigan’s Tobacco Taxes
Stop the increase in tobacco use in Michigan. Michigan over the past decade has seen a steady decline in the use of tobacco but that decline is starting to plateau. Michigan’s prevention programs are underfunded, limiting their ability to reduce tobacco use rates and increase cancer screening rates. By increasing the cigarette tax $1.00, creating tax parity for other tobacco products, and regulating e-cigarettes as a tobacco product we can curb tobacco use and provide support for those looking to quit. We support efforts to increase the tobacco tax and use the new revenue to increase our tobacco prevention and cessation efforts, detect more cancers early, support our trauma system, and support essential health services for all Michiganders.

Preventing Tobacco from getting into the hands of our children
The past several year's studies continue to be published that shows there is a need to work tobacco, including e- cigarettes out of the hands of our children. ACS CAN is committed to curbing the use of tobacco in our youth and one strategy is raising the purchasing age to 21. Studies have shown that by increasing the age to 21 it will prevent some of our youth from starting tobacco. ACS CAN supports raising Michigan’s tobacco purchasing age for all products to 21.

Increase funding for cancer prevention
Ensure adequate funding for the state Cancer Prevention Program. State funds are needed to promote and implement evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent cancer through the programs offered through MDHHS Cancer section. At the current funding levels, some programs exhaust their allotment early on in the year leaving those without access to critical screenings. Increased funding would provide greater opportunities to fight Breast and Colon cancer, two of the most highly treatable cancers, earlier, saving more lives.

Increased Awareness for Palliative Care
Creation of a Michigan Palliative Care Commission. Palliative care has been in the medical lexicon since the 1970’s but the use and awareness of it has varied. Awareness and delivery of palliative care in Michigan is scattered at best. We know there are best practices for quality palliative care and there are many people across the state with serious medical conditions who could benefit from palliative care. Michigan needs better awareness of the benefits of palliative care. Creating a statewide commission to review practices, provide guidance to the administration and enhance educational support for Michigan health care systems could improve the delivery of palliative care in Michigan.

Ensure that all Healthy Michigan plans include coverage of comprehensive tobacco cessation services including all medications.
Ensure the Department of Health and Human Services is not impeding cancer patients’ access to care with prior authorization processes for prescription drugs.
In the current Medicaid system, those with traditional Medicaid plans do not receive no-cost preventive care services like those who are on the Healthy Michigan Plan (Medicaid expansion). We want to partner with the Department of Health and Human Services to extend those preventive care programs and services to the traditional Medicaid plans.

Nutrition and physical activity
ACS CAN will support initiatives that promote better nutrition, physical activity, and improved fitness as a cancer prevention strategy.
Access to healthy food is a major problem in some of the urban areas in Michigan. Food deserts leave some without access to fresh fruits and vegetables. We support efforts to increase the availability of healthy foods in underserved areas.