2021 Virginia Legislative Priorities

Victory in the fight against cancer requires evidence based public policies that promote the prevention and treatment of cancer while offering the citizens of the Commonwealth expanded access to quality, affordable health care. In 2021, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the Governor and the General Assembly on legislative and regulatory issues that address the disruption in cancer care, screenings and cancer research brought on by the COVID pandemic. We will also continue efforts to defend Virginia’s Medicaid program from substandard healthcare plans that do not provide adequate healthcare protection and only serve to weaken Virginia’s healthcare system.

In addition, we will be making the following evidence-based policies a priority and we ask for your support:


Ensuring Access to Quality Care

  • Defending Medicaid: In the three years since expanding Medicaid in the Commonwealth, opponents have attempted to weaken the program asking for authorization to offer substandard healthcare programs such as Association Health Plans and Catastrophic Health Plans. These bare bones plans do not offer the levels of protection that Medicaid does. During the COVID pandemic this is not what our citizens need. These plans would also serve to weaken our Medicaid program by drawing people away from our Medicaid program, making cost savings more difficult to achieve.
  • Prescription Drug  Transparency: ACS CAN will continue to work to promote passage of our state model prescription drug formulary transparency legislation that allows cancer patients and all health consumers to know which drugs are covered and what their  out-of-pocket costs will be  for those drugs before buying a health insurance plan.  We will also support policies that encourage more copay only plans, place limits on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, and ensure that all cost-sharing payments are counted. 


State Funding for Cancer Research

  • Cancer Research: ACS CAN will advocate to maintain cancer research funding for Virginia’s leading research hospitals; VCU Massey and University of Virginia Cancer Center.  


Reducing the Toll of Tobacco

  • Tobacco Retail Licensing:  ACS CAN will work to pass a comprehensive Tobacco Retail Licensing program. Virginia is among nine states without a state TRL program.
  • Access to Tobacco Cessation: ACS CAN will advocate for all insurance plans, including the state Medicaid program, to provide a comprehensive cessation benefit that covers individual, group, and telephone counseling and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications without cost-sharing or other barriers to accessing care.

For more information, contact: Brian Donohue, Government Relations Director, ACS CAN  

[email protected], 202.671.4502 

ACS CAN is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information please visit www.fightcancer.org


The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network • www.fightcancer.org/Virginia