2023 Arkansas Legislative Priorities
2023 Arkansas 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. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of Arkansas residents impacted by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. In 2023 the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the Arkansas Legislature on legislative and regulatory efforts that provide affordable, adequate access to health insurance including Medicaid, ensure adequate appropriations funding for lifesaving cancer screening programs, and enact prevention policies that help people who use tobacco products quit and deter kids from ever using tobacco products. We will be making the following fact-based policies a priority and ask for your support:
Ensuring Access to Quality Care
- Medicaid Expansion: ACS CAN will advocate for low-income individuals and families to have access to health insurance coverage and non-emergent transportation services through state Medicaid programs. We will support policies that preserve funding and access to Medicaid for low-income parents and adults and will advocate for extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage to 12 months.
- Affordable, Adequate Health Insurance: ACS CAN will advocate for policies that ensure access to quality, affordable and comprehensive health insurance including Medicaid and will support efforts to curb the availability of inadequate health plans.
- Network Adequacy: ACS CAN will support legislation regarding health insurance network adequacy to help ensure that cancer patients and cancer survivors have access to appropriate medical specialists they may need.
- Prescription Drug Transparency: ACS CAN will continue to support 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.
- Palliative Care: ACS CAN will work to improve cancer patients’ quality of life by creating 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 for serious diseases such as cancer.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation that ensures all working cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers have access to paid family and medical leave that allows them to take time off work to attend to their own or a loved one’s care without losing their job or income.
- Fertility Preservation: Some cancer treatments can cause infertility, and as a result, individuals with cancer may choose to preserve their fertility prior to treatment. Failure to preserve fertility is a common regret that may affect survivors’ quality of life. ACS CAN supports legislation that would provide cancer patients with health insurance coverage for fertility preservation consistent with recommended medical guidelines.
Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
- Breast and Cervical Cancer: ACS CAN will advocate to increase funding to $4 million for BreastCare, the state breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment program for low-income uninsured and underinsured women administered by the Arkansas Department of Health.
- Colorectal Cancer: ACS CAN will work to increase funding for colorectal cancer screening, treatment, and patient navigation programs. Additionally, ACS CAN will work to ensure patients are not charged for colonoscopies that follow a positive stool-based test.
Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
- Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN will work to increase funding for fact-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $15 million. Increasing funding to $15 million will allow the program to make continued progress in reducing rates of tobacco use in Arkansas, and develop programs to address the growing use of e-cigarette products among young people.
- 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.
- Smoke-free Air: ACS CAN will work to implement a statewide comprehensive smoke-free law that covers all workplaces including restaurants, bars, and gaming facilities. ACS CAN will work to defend the statewide smoke-free law against any exemptions. ACS CAN will work to expand the statewide smoke-free law to prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana wherever smoking is prohibited.
Cancer Research Funding
- Research Appropriations: ACS CAN will work to protect/increase appropriations to support scientific research on cutting-edge treatments.
- Comprehensive Cancer Control Program Funding: ACS CAN will work to protect/increase appropriations for state comprehensive cancer control programs.
- Local governments are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the people in their communities. ACS CAN supports their ability to pass laws that are proven to promote good health, well-being, and equality. Preserving local control is needed to pass innovative and proactive public health policies. ACS CAN works at the local, state, and federal levels; thus, it supports each level of government’s ability to implement policies for cleaner, safer, healthier communities. The right of local governments to pass public health policies stronger than state laws must be preserved to continue future advocacy efforts to reduce suffering and death from cancer.
For more information, contact: Matt Glanville, Oklahoma and Arkansas Government Relations Director
[email protected] Phone: 405.301.6311
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.