Stimulus Bill A Good Down Payment on Important Public Health Priorities

February 13, 2009

Statement of Daniel E. Smith, president, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- February 13, 2009 -- “The House of Representatives today passed a stimulus bill containing $10 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), $1 billion for prevention, and critical funding for maintaining access to health care, provisions that can benefit both the physical and financial well-being of countless Americans.

“The significant increase in funding for medical research at the NIH and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) will make a big difference in the effort to fight cancer after years of flat or cut federal funding for medical research.  NIH also funds universities and labs across the country that employ researchers and purchase goods and services, providing tremendous dividends for local economies nationwide.

“Increased funding for Medicaid programs will go a long way toward preserving health care coverage for more than 50 million needy Americans.  A provision that subsidizes the cost of COBRA insurance with a 60% subsidy from the federal government for nine months will help individuals maintain affordable coverage at a time when personal budgets are severely strained.   

“Cancer and other chronic diseases take an expensive toll on our economy to the tune of $1 trillion a year in lost workdays and lower employee productivity.  The cancer community is excited to see an injection of funds for wellness and prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including $650 million for chronic disease prevention programs including cancer screening and education, and additional funds that have the potential to fund tobacco cessation. Screening and cessation programs not only save lives they create job opportunities as personnel are needed to carry out these critical public health programs.

“Cancer patients, survivors and their loved ones across the country are hopeful that this bill is the beginning of a renewed commitment to prevention, wellness, tobacco control and cancer research from elected officials, and we look forward to seeing sustained support for these critical areas in the upcoming appropriations process.”

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]

Steve Weiss
Phone: (202) 661-5711
Email: [email protected]

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