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.
Feinstein-Mikulski-Collins Amendment Would Add $390 Million to Budget for Cancer Research and Programs
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 16, 2006 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) is asking Senators to demonstrate their bipartisan commitment to the war against cancer and support budget amendments that would boost Cancer Research Funding.
One amendment, filed late Tuesday by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Susan Collins (R-ME), would provide an additional $390 million in cancer funding for Fiscal Year 2007 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). The amendment addresses cancer specific research and programs with increases of $240 million for the NCI, $4.6 million for the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, and more than $117 million for cancer programs at the CDC, including $48 million for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) and $33 million for the Comprehensive Cancer Control Initiative. Furthermore, HRSA would receive additional funding of $25 million for the Nurse Reinvestment Act and Nursing Programs.
Another amendment, introduced earlier Tuesday by Sens. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Tom Harkin (D-IA), would add $7 billion for health and education programs. Both amendments are expected to be voted on later today.
“We are extremely pleased to see these Senators stand up for cancer patients, survivors and their families,” said Daniel E. Smith, the Society’s national vice president, government relations. “It is simply impossible for us to defeat this disease without the support of federal lawmakers. We hope the entire Senate will join their colleagues and
support this amendment because cancer research and care belong in the lab and in the doctor’s office, not on the cutting room floor.”
Both amendments would counter congressional action last fall to cut NIH’s budget for the first time in 35 years and cancer research for the first time in a decade. More recently, President Bush unveiled his budget for Fiscal Year 2007 that would provide no new funding for NIH and would cut total NCI funding by $40 million and total CDC funding by $179 million. One of the most devastating of the proposed cuts is slated for the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP). The President proposed a cut of $1.4 million for the program, which provides uninsured and underinsured women with cancer screenings, even though existing funding only allows it to serve only one in five eligible women. The Feinstein-Mikulski-Collins amendment would not only restore the cuts the program received through last fall’s budget votes, but address the President’s proposed cut and include another $45 million for the program so it could serve at least an additional 130,000 women.
“The Senate has a spectacular opportunity here to stand with cancer patients, survivors and their families across the country who have been impacted by a disease that is this nation’s leading cause of death for people under the age of 85,” said Sally West Brooks, RN, MA, the Society’s national volunteer board chair. “The progress we’ve witnessed over the past decade has shown us that the time and resources spent fighting cancer are beyond worthwhile. The funding provided by these amendments will ensure we stay the course in this fight and see a day when cancer is no longer the disease Americans fear most.”
It is estimated that cancer costs the nation $210 billion a year in direct medical costs, lost wages and productivity. It is also the leading cause of death for all Americans under age 85, killing 1,500 people a day. The Society estimates that 1,399,790 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and another 564,830 will die from the disease. Last month, the Society announced that for the first time in recorded history the number of Americans who died from cancer decreased from the year before. Although cancer death rates have been slowly decreasing for more than ten years, this was the first time the actual number, adjusted for population, decreased. There are currently more than 10 million cancer survivors living in America today.
The Society and ACS CAN volunteers have lead efforts since early last fall to increase funding. Prior to this year’s State of the Union Address, more than 10,000 cancer advocates sent postcards to the White House asking the President to make cancer a national priority. In addition, more than 23,000 Society volunteers contacted their Members of Congress to voice opposition to cuts in funding for cancer and more than 17,000 sent postcards to ask Congress to specifically provide support for the NBCCEDP.
The Society and its volunteers will call nationwide attention to this need with 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.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Email: [email protected]
Cancer Advocates Urge Senate to Support Efforts to Restore Funding for Federal Cancer Programs