Access to Health Care

ACS CAN advocates for policies that provide access to treatments and services people with cancer need for their care - including those who may be newly diagnosed, in active treatment and cancer survivors.

Prescription Drug Affordability Resources:

Prescription drug costs are a significant burden on cancer patients and survivors, sometimes even leading patients to miss or delay taking prescribed medications. The latest Survivor Views survey explores the role copay assistance programs can play in reducing this burden, and also addresses patient navigation and digital therapeutics.

A majority of cancer patients and survivors struggle to afford cancer care and over 80% have had to make financial sacrifices to cover their health care expenses. This survey also reveals ways that affordability concerns can negatively impact care and treatment, and explores issues related to prescription drug coverage and pain management options.

Many cancer patients take multiple drugs as part of their treatment – often for many months or years. While drugs are not the only costly part of cancer treatment, finding ways to reduce these costs for patients and payers will significantly reduce the overall cost burden of cancer.

Many cancer patients have difficulty affording the cost of their prescription drugs, regardless of whether they are insured.  This is especially true for newer drugs that do not have a generic equivalent.  Many programs exist to help patients afford their medication.  This fact sheet focuses on two of these – patient assistance programs and discount coupons.  

ACS CAN joined organizations representing cancer patients, survivors, providers, and caregivers urging the administration to address barriers to access to care and coverage during the public health crisis

ACS CAN comments to Secretary Alex Azar on Drug Rebate Proposed Rule

Biological drugs, commonly referred to as biologics, are a class of drugs that are produced using a living system, such as a microorganism, plant cell, or animal cell. Like all drugs, biologics are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For an individual with specific health care needs – like cancer patients and survivors – the drugs covered by a health plan and corresponding cost sharing for each drug is important information when choosing health insurance. However, to make an informed choice, formulary information must be disclosed to the individual.

Reducing Health Disparities Resources:

Our latest survey finds that female cancer patients are less satisfied with the quality of their cancer care than male cancer patients and are more likely to report that their symptoms were not taken seriously and that they had to prove their symptoms to providers.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities (section 1557) proposed rule.

Cancer biomarker testing can lead to targeted therapy which can improve survival and quality of life by connecting patients to the most beneficial treatment for their disease.

Our ability to continue to make progress against cancer relies heavily on eliminating the inequities that exist in the prevention and early detection of cancer. This factsheet explores how health outcomes vary across groups, barriers to cancer screenings, and how ACS CAN is taking action.

Research shows that while overall cancer mortality rates in the U.S. are dropping, populations that have been marginalized are bearing a disproportionate burden of preventable death and disease. Researchers and policymakers need timely collection and publication of demographic data to identify disparities to improve health equity in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.

Telehealth can help to reduce health disparities and improve health outcomes for all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or zip code by providing cancer patients with a means of accessing both cancer care and primary care.

Despite notable advances in cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, not all individuals benefit equally from this important progress. This fact sheet provides an overview of current health disparities in cancer care and a snapshot of ACS CAN federal advocacy activities to eliminate these disparities and achieve health equity.

In order to reduce cancer mortality we must fight to achieve health equity, the just and fair opportunity for everyone to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer. This document shows a snapshot of how ACS CAN is fighting for health equity at the national, state and local levels.

Research is critical to understanding and reducing cancer disparities, as well as examining gaps in cancer prevention and care delivery that contribute to these disparities. Clinical trials are a key part of research and enable the development of better drugs and treatments for cancer.

Medicaid Resources:

ACS CAN submitted comments strongly supporting several policy changes that will make it easier to apply for, enroll in, and maintain enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP.

ACS CAN submitted comments regarding Tennessee's latest application to renew their 1115 waiver.

ACS CAN submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding its 2022 Request for Information on Access to Coverage and Care in Medicaid & CHIP. Our comments address suggested improvements in Medicaid enrollment and eligibility determination, transitions of coverage, national standards for access to care, and the eventual end of the public health emergency and continuous coverage provisions.

ACS CAN submitted comments in support of the renewal of Oregon's 1115 Medicaid waiver, including the state's proposal of continuous coverage provisions for children and adults. However, ACS CAN strongly objects to the state's proposal to limit Medicaid coverage of drugs approved through the accelerated approval process, and urges CMS to reject this part of the waiver request.

An estimated 2.2 million low-income adults who would benefit from Medicaid if their state expanded coverage are now in the “coverage gap,” uninsured and unable to qualify for affordable health insurance. Congress must extend quality, affordable coverage to people who need it by closing the Medicaid coverage gap. 

ACS CAN submitted comments opposing Tennessee's proposal to fund its Medicaid program through a block grant and implement a closed formulary.

ACS CAN comments supporting Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, but opposing their proposal to rescind retroactive eligibility