Alaska State Legislative Priorities for 2019
Cancer has become one of the most preventable and increasingly curable life-threatening diseases - but only if we take the steps necessary to prevent it outright, detect it early, and improve access to care. To this end, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Alaska is working on the following legislative priorities in support of its mission to end cancer as a major health problem.
Expanding Cancer Prevention, Treatment, and Survivorship
- Healthy Eating, Active Living Environments – Because one-third of all cancer deaths are related to poor diet, physical inactivity and excess weight, ACS CAN supports Alaska’s Obesity Prevention and Control Program and its collaborative effort to prevent childhood obesity and chronic diseases, such as cancer. The Program supports partnerships to create safe communities where it’s easier to be physically active and choose healthy food options. Improving our community environments across the state supports improved health and reduced health care costs.
- Colorectal Cancer Screening Coverage – ACS CAN supports insurance coverage for colon cancer screening for the retired public employee plan, bringing it into parity with the US federal and Alaska state law for other insured groups.
Lung Cancer and Tobacco Control
- Tobacco Prevention Program – ACS CAN supports Alaska’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, especially work around the alarming increase in youth use of e-cigarettes. Results of the Program’s sustained effort are seen in the 20% drop in adult smoking and 73% drop in youth smoking since 1995. However, tobacco use still costs our state $575 million in annual medical costs plus an additional $274 million in lost productivity due to premature death. ACS CAN supports protecting Alaska’s Tobacco Use Education and Cessation Fund, thereby preserving tobacco prevention and cessation efforts in accordance with CDC Best Practices.
- Tobacco Taxes – ACS CAN supports local and statewide measures to significantly increase the price of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Such measures are proven effective in significantly reducing the number of youth starting to use tobacco.
Ensuring Access to Quality Care
Inadequate access to timely, quality health care is one of the greatest barriers to winning the war on cancer.
- Medicaid Access – ACS CAN supports maintaining access to Medicaid eligibility in order to ensure access to care that otherwise might not be available. Consistent health insurance coverage increases the likelihood that chronic diseases will be found at their earliest stages when treatment can be less costly and health outcomes greatly improved.
For more information, contact:
Alaska Government Relations Director