A bill re-introduced in the U.S. Senate today aims to improve access to new and innovative cancer screenings among Medicare beneficiaries in order to increase early detection of more cancers for more Americans.
President’s FY 22 Budget Focuses on Health Issues; Boosts Biomedical Research, Makes Permanent Increased Health Coverage Subsidies
Washington, D.C.— The Biden administration released its budget for FY 22 late last week. Included in the budget is an additional $9 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $6.5 for the creation of a new department within the NIH called the Advanced Research Project Agency on Health (ARPA-H), which would be dedicated to accelerating the pace of biomedical research for rare and difficult to treat diseases, including cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) would receive a $174 million increase over its current funding level.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would see a $1.6 billion increase, including an increase of $150 million for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health Program to improve health equity and data collection for racial and ethnic populations, but holds flat funding for cancer prevention and early detection programs at the agency.
The budget calls to make permanent the increased subsidies available for middle income people to buy health coverage on the marketplace and reduce deductibles for those marketplace plans. It also encourages Congress to provide health coverage to those who remain uninsured, including those who live in states which have not yet expanded Medicaid.
Finally, the budget includes, for the first time, funding for the creation of a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave program that includes leave for serious illness and caregiving.
A statement from Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) follows:
“The proposed funding increase for biomedical research in this budget is a positive first step toward advancing cancer prevention, early detection and improved treatments for disease. We welcome the increase to the NIH base budget and are excited by the potential to accelerate treatments through the creation of ARPA-H. However, we also urge lawmakers to prioritize funding for the NCI. Unlike the other Institutes that comprise the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute is experiencing demand for research grants that far exceeds its available funding. NCI is responsible for the many breakthroughs that have saved the lives of more than 17 million American cancer survivors today and could save many more lives with increased and sustained funding.”
“Cancer prevention and early detection is essential to reducing our nation’s cancer burden. Unfortunately, the budget does not propose any increases for these efforts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Increased funding for CDC screening and early detection programs, for instance, will be critical as millions of Americans who delayed their cancer screenings due to the pandemic begin seeking these services.
“Moreover, without additional resources for the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH) we cannot make progress against tobacco use—which is the number one preventable cause of cancer—and risk losing a generation of youth to flavored e-cigarette use.
“We welcome the $150 million funding increase for the CDC’s Social Determinants of Health program, which will help collect vital data on racial and ethnic communities who often suffer disproportionate incidence of cancer. These same communities, among others, also rely on a number of the CDC’s cancer prevention and early detection programs and we would urge lawmakers to adequately fund these programs as part of the Center’s $8.7 billion budget.”
“Affordable health care is essential for cancer patients, survivors and all those at risk for the disease. Making marketplace health plans more affordable through increased subsidies for middle income Americans and lower deductibles is a great step toward ensuring more people can get and keep the coverage they need to stay healthy and to treat their illness should they get sick.
“ACS CAN has been working diligently to extend benefits to those who need coverage in states that have failed to expand their Medicaid programs. As such we are eager to see a focus on options that could close that coverage gap and look forward to working with the administration and Congress on continued efforts to ensure patients everywhere—no matter where they live—can get comprehensive health coverage.
“Additionally, a national paid leave program would be a tremendous help to those diagnosed with or caring for loved ones with cancer. Cancer is an incredibly intense, time consuming and costly disease. Being able to take time off to receive and complete necessary treatment, or to care for a loved one undergoing treatment, without sacrificing one’s career, or overall economic well-being would make a significant difference to millions of Americans.
“We are energized and ready to support the president’s commitment to, ‘End cancer as we know it.’ To reach that admirable goal, we need to prioritize and invest in what we know works, innovation to support discovery where answers remain and ensure access to advances in cancer prevention and treatment are accessible, no matter where you live.”