Cancer Advocates Warn That Cuts to Discretionary Spending and Creating Barriers to Quality Health Care Would Reverse Cancer Progress

House Leadership Proposal Threatens to Cut Federally-Funded Cancer Research and Implement Bureaucratic Medicaid Work Requirements

April 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 17, 2023 – This morning, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy proposed concepts to address the debt limit that would jeopardize Americans’ access to meaningful, affordable health care by implementing work requirements for the Medicaid health insurance program and threaten federally-funded cancer research by shrinking discretionary spending.  

The following is a statement from American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) President, Lisa A. Lacasse: 

“Cancer must remain a top priority for Congress if proposed budget cuts are made. We can’t afford to risk progress in the fight against cancer by pulling back our investment. Sustained funding for federal cancer research has been crucial in the fight against cancer: saving more lives from cancer generation after generation by playing a role in nearly every major advance in the past half century. 

“The data show that more than 60 percent of Medicaid enrollees work full or part time. Evidence further shows that proposals subjecting Americans to Medicaid work requirements create barriers to necessary health care and are ineffective in increasing employment. Work requirements undermine the very intent of those who champion the flawed policies: increasing government inefficiency while leaving individuals uncovered and vulnerable to illnesses, like cancer, that make it more difficult to contribute to their communities. 

“Families who have dealt with a cancer diagnosis and those at risk also stand to lose if Congress seeks to implement barriers to health insurance through Medicaid work requirements. Evidence has shown that work requirements don’t increase employment and punish individuals who data shows often already have multiple jobs. Instead, work requirements create a huge paperwork and reporting burden that leaves eligible people without lifesaving health care. 

“Policymakers should be looking to expand access to Medicaid health insurance and continue investment in our nation’s innovations to save more lives from cancer, not find ways to restrict research or access to care. We urge Congress to prioritize the cancer fight in any debt limit or budget proposal put forth.”