Eagan, Minn. – As we dive into a new legislative session, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) prompts legislators to prioritize passing public policies that promote cancer prevention, improve patient quality of life, prevent youth commercial tobacco use and help adults quit tobacco, and expand equitable access to quality, affordable health care.
“While cancer affects everyone, it does not affect everyone equally. ACS CAN is committed to working with lawmakers to ensure all Minnesotans have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat and survive cancer,” said Emily Myatt, ACS CAN Minnesota government relations director.
This year in Minnesota, there will be over 35,000 new cancer cases and an estimated 10,340 cancer deaths. ACS CAN will focus on reducing health disparities that contribute to a higher cancer rate, later stage diagnoses and higher mortality rate among communities of color, populations with limited incomes and other medically underserved groups.
ACS CAN’s legislative priorities for 2022 include the following:
Ensuring Access to Quality Care
- Prescription Drug Transparency: ACS CAN supports HF633 (Bierman)/SF365 (Nelson), which would create more health care coverage options and help Minnesotans facing serious diseases, like cancer, better manage and plan for their prescription drug costs.
- Access to Biomarker Testing: ACS CAN will advocate for improved coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing. Biomarker testing is an important step to accessing precision medicine that can lead to improved survivorship and better quality of life for cancer patients.
Improving Patient Quality of Life
- Defining Palliative Care: Palliative care improves quality of life and addresses harmful effects of pain, symptoms and emotional distress among people with serious illnesses. Although palliative care is for any stage or prognosis of a serious condition, Minnesota state statute defines it as end-of-life care. ACS CAN supports legislation that would create a more accurate definition of palliative care.
- Minnesota Palliative Care Advisory Council: ACS CAN supports HF2517 (Reyer)/SF2400 (Housley) to fund the existing Minnesota Palliative Care Advisory Council, which works to identify barriers to coordinated, supportive care during treatment of serious illnesses such as cancer.
Reducing the Toll of Commercial Tobacco
- Access to Tobacco Cessation Treatment: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation to remove barriers to tobacco cessation treatment for Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare enrollees, ensuring more Minnesotans have access to individual, group, and telephone counseling and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications without cost-sharing or other barriers to accessing care.
- End the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products: The tobacco industry uses menthol, other candy- and fruit-flavored products to entice youth, African Americans, American Indians, the LGBTQ+ community and other historically marginalized communities into a potential lifetime of addiction. ACS CAN supports HF904 (Frazier)/SF1271 (Champion), which would end the sale of menthol cigarettes and all other flavored tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, flavored cigars, shisha (also known as hookah) and smokeless tobacco.
For more information on how ACS CAN volunteers across Minnesota are helping defeat cancer, visit fightcancer.org/MN.