Congress is poised to pass a funding bill this week that includes a $2.6 billion increase for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The measure, agreed upon by both House and Senate conference committee members, also provides $296 million increase for the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Kansas Falls Short on Medicaid Access, Cancer-Fighting Public Policies
Kansas continues to fall short when it comes to passing legislation that prevents and reduces suffering and death from cancer. According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Kansas failed to measure up to policy recommendations in helping cancer patients access adequate, affordable health care coverage. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network released the report today.
Under current law, states have the option to provide people access to comprehensive health care coverage through their state’s Medicaid program. The 17th edition of the report reveals that 15 states, including Kansas, continue to deny millions of their residents this access. Roughly 2.3 million Americans with a history of cancer rely on Medicaid coverage for their care, and nationwide, more than 1.7 million people will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
“Medicaid provides millions of uninsured Americans with lifesaving care and screenings, which is why it’s critical to remove any barriers to accessing it,” said Jordan Feuerborn, Kansas government relations director for ACS CAN. “Work requirements, for example, could seriously disadvantage cancer patients and survivors who are unable to comply with them and could lead to subscribers being locked out of coverage. With a disease like cancer, that’s a matter of life or death.”
How Do You Measure Up? rates states in eight specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer. A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark; and red shows where states are falling short.
How Kansas Measures Up:
Increased Access to Medicaid Red
Access to Palliative Care Green
Pain Policy Yellow
Cigarette Tax Rates Yellow
Smoke-free Laws Green
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding Red
Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services Green
Indoor Tanning Green
“This year, 15,340 Kansans will be diagnosed with cancer,” Feuerborn said. “We owe it to them – and to everyone at risk of developing this disease – to do everything in our power to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment. This report provides lawmakers a legislative path forward.”
To view the complete report and details on Kansas’ ratings, visit http://www.fightcancer.org/measure
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.