2024 North Carolina 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 North Carolinians impacted by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. In 2024 the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the North Carolina General Assembly on legislative and regulatory efforts that provide affordable, adequate access to health insurance including Medicaid, ensure adequate funding for lifesaving cancer screening and prevention programs, and enact prevention policies to protect kids from tobacco products and help support those who are trying to quit. We will be making the following fact-based policies a priority and ask for your support:

Ensuring Access to Quality Care

  • 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.
  • Access to Biomarker Testing: ACS CAN will advocate for improved coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing. Progress in improving cancer outcomes increasingly involves the use of precision medicine, which uses information about a person’s own genes or proteins to better diagnose and treat diseases like cancer. Biomarker testing is an important step to accessing precision medicine which includes targeted therapies that can lead to improved survivorship and better quality of life for cancer patients, but insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in treatment.
  • Prescription Drug Access: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation that ensures prior authorization and step therapy requirements for prescription drugs are clear, efficient and patient-friendly while also allowing for exceptions when appropriate. 
  • Prescription Drug Affordability: ACS CAN supports legislation that restricts the use of so-called copay accumulator adjustments in health insurance plans.  We will advocate for policies that ensure third party prescription drug copay assistance is counted toward patients’ out-of-pocket cost obligations.  
  • Reduces Patient Medical Debt: ACS CAN recognizes the impact of medical debt on people with cancer, caregivers and their families. In addition to supporting policies that ensure affordable access to comprehensive healthcare coverage, ACS CAN will advocate for policies that prevent the occurrence of medical debt and reduce the impact of incurred medical debt on individuals and families.

Cancer Prevention and Early Detection

  • Breast and Cervical Cancer: ACS CAN will advocate to increase funding of $1,607,452 for North Carolina’s Breast & Cervical Cancer Control, the state breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment program for low-income uninsured and underinsured women administered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Colorectal Cancer: ACS CAN will work to establish funding for colorectal cancer screening, treatment, and patient navigation programs. Additionally, ACS CAN will work to ensure health plans cover colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 in accordance with updated American Cancer Society and United States Preventive Services Task Force guidelines and ensure patients are not charged for colonoscopies that follow a positive stool-based test.
  • Prostate Cancer: The higher incidence and mortality rates for Black men for prostate cancer are exceptionally concerning. ACS CAN supports improving prostate screening rates and reducing disparities by advocating for appropriate screening measures. This includes policies that would give men at high-risk for prostate cancer improved access to prostate cancer screening by requiring health insurance coverage for evidence-based prostate cancer preventive care and screenings, without cost sharing.
  • Lung Cancer: ACS CAN advocates for all insurance plans, including traditional Medicaid, to provide a comprehensive benefit for lung cancer screening including all follow-up testing according to recommended guidelines, without enrollee cost sharing or other barriers.
  • HPV: ACS CAN supports legislation to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine including policies to strengthen school vaccination requirements, facilitate pharmacists’ ability to administer vaccines to children, and appropriate funding for HPV vaccine education and administration.
  • Remove copays for cancer screenings: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to eliminate cost sharing for follow-up cancer screening tests that are needed after an abnormal result and supplemental screening needed for some individuals who are above average risk.

Reducing the Toll of Tobacco

  • Tobacco Taxes: As the North Carolina General Assembly works to identify funding strategies to fund critical programs, ACS CAN will advocate to increase the cigarette tax with a parallel tax on all other tobacco products including e-cigarettes. Increasing the price of cigarettes and all other tobacco products through regular and significant tobacco tax increases helps prevent kids from starting to use tobacco and helps support people who are trying to quit. The increased revenue from the tobacco tax increase should be used to fund and sustain fact-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs.
  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN will work to increase funding for fact-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs to $20 million.  Increasing funding to $20 million will allow the programs to reach more North Carolinians, provide more resources and information to individuals about breaking their addiction, and decrease youth nicotine addiction across the state.
  • 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 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 wherever smoking is prohibited.
  • Menthol Cigarettes and All Other Flavored Tobacco Products: ACS CAN supports legislation to end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products. Comprehensive policies to end the sale of flavored tobacco products must include all tobacco products, all flavors, and all tobacco retailers.

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.
  • State Cancer registries:  ACS Can will work to protect or increase appropriations to support state cancer registries which provide the data-driven foundation for the state cancer control efforts.

Local Control

  • ACS CAN supports the authority of local governments to pass local policies that go beyond state laws to help families be healthy, safe and secure. Policymaking at the local level allows innovation and creative problem solving that builds on local strengths and addresses local needs. ACS CAN works at the local, state and federal levels to ensure everyone has a fair and just opportunity to prevent, fight and survive cancer. ACS CAN will oppose legislation that restricts the freedom of local leaders to best serve your shared constituents. 


For more information, contact: John Broome, North Carolina Government Relations Director ACS CAN 

[email protected] | 336-707-6614

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