North Dakota Legislature Passes Biennium Budget to Prioritize Tobacco Control, Cancer Prevention and Access to Care  

April 30, 2021

BISMARCK—The North Dakota Legislature adjourned last night and passed its 2021-2023 biennium budget, which includes funding for critical cancer screening programs and tobacco prevention and cessation efforts. They also reauthorized Medicaid expansion funding for another two years.

Kendra Krueger of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in North Dakota released the following reaction:

"As an organization dedicated to reducing suffering and death from cancer, ACS CAN is pleased that lawmakers prioritized cancer prevention and access to care, particularly during the pandemic. The legislature increased funding for tobacco prevention and cessation and maintained funding for Women’s Way, the state’s breast and cervical cancer early detection and screening program, as well as the state’s colorectal cancer screening initiative. Additionally, they reauthorized Medicaid expansion.

"Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death and smoking is responsible for roughly 26% of North Dakota’s cancer deaths. Strong, well-funded tobacco prevention and cessation programs prevent youth from starting this deadly addiction and help adults quit. Tobacco control efforts are critical as we struggle with an epidemic of young people using e-cigarettes.  

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of access to health care, and by maintaining funding for Women’s Way and the colorectal cancer screening program, the state can reduce the number of people who are diagnosed with late-stage cancer and prevent some cancers altogether by providing low-income, uninsured and underinsured North Dakotans access to potentially lifesaving mammograms, Pap tests and colon cancer screenings.

"Finally, reauthorizing Medicaid funding will preserve access to health care coverage for more than 20,000 North Dakotans, including cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease through July 31, 2023. Medicaid expansion has promoted earlier detection of cancer, resulting in fewer cancer deaths and improved outcomes for patients. Additionally, it has strengthened North Dakota’s economy and made the state’s hospitals, health systems and provider networks stronger. Through continued funding for Medicaid expansion, the state will save more lives and reduce the burden of cancer in the state."

This year, 4,200 North Dakota residents will be diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the state and an estimated 1,310 residents will die from cancer this year. To learn more about ACS CAN’s public policy agenda to fight cancer in North Dakota, visit


About ACS CAN at 20 
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting

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