Advocates Call on Pennsylvania & Governor Shapiro to Strengthen Cancer Prevention, Detection & Treatment for Residents

Ahead of Governor’s budget address, ACS CAN urges Legislature to increase access to biomarker testing, early detection, tobacco cessation & paid family medical leave

February 5, 2024

HARRISBURG, PA – FEBRUARY 5, 2024 – With the 2024 legislative session underway and Governor Shapiro’s budget address set for tomorrow, here is a statement from Donna Greco, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Pennsylvania Government Relations Director:

“As Pennsylvania lawmakers return to the 2024 legislative session, ACS CAN calls on the Legislature to increase access to biomarker testing by voting in support of Senate Bill 954 / House Bill 1754. This legislation aims to equip countless Pennsylvanians who have received a cancer diagnosis and their health care providers with critical information about their disease and how to best fight it. 

“Despite the benefits of biomarker testing in improving patient outcomes and quality of life, health insurance coverage has not kept pace with innovations, coming up short in enabling residents to receive standard of care. Senators Devlin Robinson and Lisa Boscola and Representatives Kyle Mullins and Minority Leader Bryan Cutler have championed the disease-agnostic proposals in the Senate and House, which seek to cover biomarker testing in state-regulated health insurance plans, including Medicaid, when specific scientific and medical evidence shows potential benefit for patients with cancer and other illnesses and diseases.

“Not only will ACS CAN strive for Pennsylvanians to have access to quality care upon being diagnosed but we will work to pursue opportunities to help Pennsylvanians detect cancer early and, in some cases, prevent them from receiving a cancer diagnosis in the first place. In his Executive Budget address tomorrow, Governor Shapiro has the chance to set this as a priority in his 2024-2025 agenda. We hope to see maintained funding for the Pennsylvania Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (PA BCCEDP) at $2.563 million in his 2024-2025 proposal. This investment will help ensure that the state can build on its progress of providing low-income under- and un-insured Pennsylvanians with access to breast and cervical cancer screening.   

“Though efforts to eliminate barriers to cancer screenings are invaluable in this fight, cancer prevention in Pennsylvania cannot be solely defined by residents’ access to early detection services. We need to be proactive, reducing the presence of cancer-causing products in Pennsylvanians’ lives. One of the best courses for Governor Shapiro and state lawmakers to achieve this is through tobacco cessation, starting with protecting funding for statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs. In protecting this investment, Governor Shapiro can ensure that the program will continue its efforts to help people quit smoking and to prevent the next generation from becoming addicted to tobacco products in the first place.

“ACS CAN will also be working with public health and labor organizations across the state on two existing proposals—the first, House Bill 181, sponsored by Representative Dan Miller, aims to establish a paid family and medical leave program for Pennsylvania workers and the other, House Bill 1657, sponsored by Representative Dan Frankel, seeks to remove exemptions in the statewide Clean Indoor Air Act to prohibit all smoking, including e-cigarettes and marijuana, in all workplaces including bars and casinos.

“In 2024, an estimated 89,410 Pennsylvanians will be diagnosed with cancer and 27,570 will die from the disease. ACS CAN’s legislative proposals will help our state to begin to make a dent in these troubling incidence and mortality figures. This year, we’re eager to partner with Governor Shapiro and state lawmakers to shepherd an era of progress in the fight against cancer.”


About ACS CAN 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone.  As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. By engaging advocates across the country to make their voices heard, ACS CAN influences legislative and regulatory solutions that will end cancer as we know it. 

Media Contacts

Casey O'Neill
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager