American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer Courtney Hurtig, of Overland Park, joined more than 100 other cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, physicians and researchers in Washington, D.C., this week to urge lawmakers to make fighting cancer a top national priority. These advocates united as part of the 19th annual One Voice Against Cancer lobby day to request cancer research funding at the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health.
Administration Budget Risks Reversing Progress in Fight Against Cancer
Continued and Robust Appropriations for Research and Prevention Critical
Washington, D.C. – The administration released its FY19 budget today including a minimum $1 billion cut for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), down from what the House and Senate committees have approved for FY 18 funding levels. The budget also reduces funding and eliminates important cancer screening and prevention programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eliminates subsidies for purchasing health insurance through the exchanges, and transforms Medicaid funding into a per capita cap or block grant structure.
A statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network follows:
“If implemented, the cut to NIH funding would risk squandering renewed national momentum and progress in advancing discovery in cancer and other chronic diseases.
“These investments have historically and consistently enjoyed strong bipartisan support dating back to the initiation of the “war on cancer” by the Nixon administration in the 1970s, and have collectively led researchers to the cusp of numerous innovative new diagnostic tools and treatments.
“We are also troubled by the proposed cuts and elimination of proven cancer prevention, screening and early detection programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The proposed block granting of all chronic disease funding could essentially eliminate federal tobacco prevention and control programs. Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable premature death in the U.S.
“Such cuts would likely reduce access for tobacco cessation counseling at quitlines across the country as well as reduce uninsured and underinsured individuals’ access to mammograms, colonoscopies and pap smears.
“Additionally, eliminating the health insurance marketplace subsidies and transforming Medicaid funding into a per-capita cap or block-grant structure could leave millions of Americans unable to access critical health services. Medicaid serves as an essential safety-net for more than 2.3 million Americans with a history of cancer, including one-third of all pediatric cancer patients at the point of diagnosis.
“Budget constraints understandably require the president and Congress to identify the most pressing national priorities. With cancer expected to kill nearly 610,000 people in the United States this year, certainly funding for research and prevention that hold the promise of eliminating death and suffering from this disease should rise to the top of the list.
“We call on Congress to reject these proposed cuts and prioritize cancer research and prevention funding as well as access to affordable, meaningful health coverage, to bring hope to more than 1.7 million Americans expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.”