Letter: Cancer Advocates Urge House Leadership to Refrain from Tying Debt Limit Proposal to Problematic Public Health Provisions

Act Proposes Drastic Cuts to Federally-Funded Cancer Research and Implements Medicaid Work Requirements That Would Restrict Access to Affordable Health Care

April 24, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 24, 2023 – Today, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) sent a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries detailing concerns on provisions in the Limit, Save and Grow Act that would restrict access to affordable health care and risk progress in cancer research.  

The following is a statement from ACS CAN President, Lisa A. Lacasse: 

“On behalf of the cancer patients, survivors and individuals at-risk of cancer, we’re extremely concerned by the problematic provisions introduced as part of the Act and the adverse impact it will have on those we represent. 

Medicaid Work Requirements 
“Ensuring access to meaningful, affordable health insurance is one of the most significant ways we can make strides in the fight against cancer. We know Medicaid supports employment by enabling low-wage workers to remain healthy enough to work.  

“Work requirements have been tried before and don’t work. Such harmful and bureaucratic provisions undermine the very intent of those who champion the flawed policies – increasing bureaucracy and government inefficiency while leaving individuals and families uninsured and vulnerable to illness like cancer that make it more difficult to contribute to their communities. A majority of enrollees also work full or part-time. Furthermore, implementing these far-reaching work requirements would overburden Medicaid programs nationwide that are already focused on the unwinding of continuous coverage in the program. 

Caps on Non-Defense Discretionary Spending 
“Our nation’s continued investment in federal cancer research can’t afford to be stalled or worse, slashed. Sustained funding for federal cancer research has played a majority role in nearly every advancement to cancer care in the last 50 years, transforming cancer care and survivorship as we know it. The drastic cuts presented pose a significant risk to such advancements. 

“Cancer research can’t be turned on and off like a light switch. We will lose progress, risk losing talented scientific expertise and risk losing U.S. leadership in the cancer research space, if grant funding is curtailed.  

“As Congress continues to find ways to address the debt ceiling, we urge policymakers to pursue policies that research shows improve public health and refrain from enacting dangerous provisions that could reverse progress made to date in the fight against cancer.”