The administration released its FY21 budget today which contains significant cuts to health care programs. If implemented, the cuts could leave millions more Americans uninsured and unable to access comprehensive health coverage and stall medical research essential to preventing, detecting and treating cancer.
Cancer Advocates Continue Push For Funding Increases for Cancer Programs in the Federal Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- May 17, 2006 -- As the House continues trying to develop a budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2007, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) today hailed progress in an effort to secure additional health funding and again called on lawmakers to support funding levels sufficient for helping put the country back on track toward achieving the nation’s challenge goal of eliminating suffering and death from cancer by the year 2015.
Cancer patients, survivors and their families nationwide have made their concerns about proposed funding cuts known to Congress and the White House. Since January, more than 10,000 of them have sent postcards to the president asking for increased funding and more than 27,000 have contacted their members of Congress, asking them to oppose any cuts.
The cancer advocates have been actively supporting efforts by Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE), Nancy Johnson (R-CT) and others to add $7.2 billion to the final House budget resolution for health, education and other programs. More than $4 billion has already been added back for those programs as part of the ongoing negotiations. Now the House is poised to call for the remaining $3.1 billion needed to reach the full amount requested by Castle and Johnson. This is an unprecedented move by the House as part of its consideration of the budget resolution.
“The efforts by Reps. Castle, Johnson and their bipartisan colleagues have been gaining traction and demonstrate a commitment both to being fiscally responsible and to adequately funding health programs such as those that help to prevent and treat cancer,” said Daniel E. Smith, ACS CAN’s national vice president of government relations. “There is too much at stake to leave cancer research and program budgets in the red.”
The Senate voted 73-27 in March in favor of an amendment by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) that added $7 billion to the Senate’s final budget resolution for health and education programs. In addition, the Senate approved an amendment by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME) that calls for $390 million to be allocated to restore and increase cancer-specific funding for programs and research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“For the first time in our nation’s history, the actual number of Americans dying from cancer is on the decline,” said Sally West Brooks, RN, MA, the Society’s national volunteer board chair. “This milestone is a direct result of Congress’s decision to fund the NIH at record levels between 1998 and 2003. This historical progress signals that we must redouble and not restrict our national investment in the fight against cancer.”
Last fall, Congress cut NIH’s budget for the first time in 35 years and reduced cancer research funding for the first time in a decade. President Bush’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2007 would flat-fund NIH and cut NCI funding by $40 million and cancer programs at the CDC funding by $3.2 million, $1.4 million of which would be directed at the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). NBCCEDP, which is in line for reauthorization by the House and Senate, provides uninsured and underinsured women with cancer screenings. As currently funded, the program can serve only one in five eligible women. Cuts would deny thousands more eligible women access to the program.
ACS CAN will host Celebration on the Hill 2006, a unique event that will bring 10,000 cancer advocates to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. this Sept. 19 and 20.
The American Cancer Society is partnering with ACS CAN, its sister advocacy organization, to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across America. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. ACS CAN, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization, uses voter education and issue campaigns aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.
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