House Committees Pass Stimulus Package With Focus on Access to Health Care, Wellness and Cancer Research

January 23, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- January 23, 2009 -- The economic stimulus package this week was passed out of the House Appropriations, Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees. The legislation contains a significant funding boost for public health measures including improved access to care, prevention and wellness programs, community health organizations, NIH research, and health information technology.

Following is a statement on the stimulus package from Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN):

“At a time when unemployment is rising, employer-sponsored health insurance is shrinking and more families are having increasing difficulties purchasing health insurance, it is essential that we expand access to health care for the nation’s most vulnerable populations.

“The stimulus package’s increased aid to state Medicaid programs is vital to preserving health care coverage for over 50 million needy Americans.  In addition, the package furthers limit growth among the ranks of the uninsured by increasing coverage through the Medicaid program for the recently unemployed.  The COBRA provisions in the stimulus package will also help individuals maintain affordable coverage at a time when personal budgets are severely strained.   

“Funding in the stimulus legislation is also a critical component in the broad effort to fight cancer and reduce cancer mortality.  By working to reverse the trend of flat funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, these funds will provide the necessary resources and support to cancer centers and researchers across the country to help them pursue research opportunities with the greatest likelihood of positively changing how we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer.

“Our health care system must place more emphasis on keeping people well through prevention and screenings. It must improve health outcomes and control skyrocketing health care costs.  Millions of cancer patients and their loved ones depend on access to quality care, regardless of where they live.  Provisions in the stimulus proposal like increased investment in health information technology, community health centers, primary care provider training, and modernization of Indian Health Service Facilities will help ensure higher quality care and a more prevention-focused health care system.”

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit

Alissa Havens
Phone: (202) 661-5772
Email: [email protected]

Christina Saull
Phone: (202) 585-3250
Email: [email protected]

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