July 28, 2017
The health care debate is over for now, and that’s good for prevention
A victory of sorts for prevention came early Friday morning when Republican efforts to reform the health care system were put on hold indefinitely. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), joined with Democrats to reject the most recent proposal, the so-called “skinny repeal,” by a 51-49 margin. The repeal would have eliminated pieces of current health care law, namely the individual and employer mandates, along with some taxes on medical device companies and the Prevention and Public Health Fund. For now, the Affordable Care Act remains the law of the land and the important Fund, which affords community organizations that ability to provide cancer screenings and vaccinations will be left in place.
Prevention saves money in the long run—and saves lives. We will continue to do everything we can to make it easier for people to access cancer screening and coverage for preventive services, which is essential to millions of Americans.
We will continue to keep you updated on any new legislation that is put forward. In the meantime, we are grateful to Congress for listening and to those of you who answered our call to contact your representatives and senators and asked them to protect prevention.
Congress releases first draft of budget proposal; what’s in the cards for cancer prevention and research?
Meanwhile, the House appropriations committee responsible for marking up sections of the proposed funding bill for fiscal year 2018 released a first draft, and it includes a three percent boost to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) budget with specific increases for research initiatives, including cancer research.
The House committee has proposed $35.2 billion in funding for the NIH in the coming fiscal year –that’s $1.1 billion over FY 2017 levels and $8.6 billion more than President Donald Trump requested earlier this year. Included in the committee’s proposal is $300 million for the Cancer Moonshot initiative, a program used to begin accelerating cancer research and prevention efforts nationwide. Overall, this is a step in the right direction for prevention efforts.
The Department of Health and Human Services, however, would see an overall $542 million decrease in funding to $77.6 billion under the House’s draft bill, although this would still be $14.5 billion above President Trump’s budget request.
Similarly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would see a $198 million reduction in funding to $7.8 billion in FY 2018 under the proposed House bill, although this would be $1 billion more than the President has requested.This would also include a transfer of $840.6 million from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. With the current debate over health care in the Senate, it is unclear what will ultimately happen with these funds.
World Hepatitis Day
Today marks the 8th Annual World Hepatitis Day—a day when groups from across the globe come together to raise awareness about viral hepatitis and its connection to liver cancer. The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Think About the Link® campaign is focused on increasing awareness of and improving screening and vaccination rates for hepatitis B and screening rates and treatment for hepatitis C. Both viruses are the leading cause of liver cancer if left untreated.
In 2015, an estimated 257 million and 71 million people were living with hepatitis B and C, respectively, across the globe. Yet, a majority of those living with viral hepatitis are unaware they are infected.
You can take action today:
- Get tested for hepatitis to learn your status. Your primary care physician or a local free clinic can provide this service.
- Talk to your health care professional about the hepatitis B vaccine to prevent infection. While there isn’t a vaccination against hepatitis C, there are treatment options available that can cure the disease.
- Spread awareness on social media by joining the #ShowYourFace campaign to support eliminating hepatitis around the world. All you have to do is upload a selfie and share across your social media platforms!
It is important to talk to your doctor about how you can prevent or be treated for hepatitis. Make the call today. To learn more about how viruses can lead to cancer, visit thinkaboutthelink.org.