Power. Progress. Prevention. March 15, 2019

Published on March 15, 2019

Power. Progress. Prevention. -- An Advocacy Newsletter | Prevent Cancer Foundation

March 15, 2019

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb resigns, temporary replacement named

FDA Commissioner Scott GottliebLast Tuesday, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced that he would be resigning at the end of the month.

During his time at the FDA, he led the charge on the regulation of e-cigarettes and worked to prevent manufacturers from marketing and selling to youth. He recently issued a proposed rule to ban menthol cigarettes, which have been historically marketed to youth and African-Americans.

Norman “Ned” Sharpless, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), will replace Gottlieb as the temporary acting FDA commissioner. Sharpless is a researcher and oncologist who was appointed to NCI in June 2017. His research areas include the relationship between aging and cancer and new treatments for melanoma, lung and breast cancers.

We are hopeful that Dr. Sharpless will continue the momentum on e-cigarettes and menthol products and champion new policies that support cancer prevention and early detection.

Cuts to NIH, boost to FDA in proposed 2020 budget

The Trump administration released its 2020 budget proposal on Monday, calling for a 12 percent cut for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Proposed changes to the HHS budget include:

  • 12 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including a $1 billion cut for the National Cancer Institute (NCI)
  • 12 percent increase for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including $100 million in user fees from the e-cigarette industry
  • $845 billion cut to Medicare, the program covering health insurance for seniors, over 10 years
  • $241 billion cut to Medicaid, the program covering low-income Americans, over 10 years

Congress will ultimately decide whether or not these proposed changes happen. While this budget is unlikely to be approved by Congress, it reveals the vulnerability of vital health-related programs and initiatives and provides insight into the administration’s priorities. We urge Congress to prioritize the health of all Americans by opposing budget cuts to the NIH, NCI, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other health agencies.

Ask your representatives and senators to support better access to colorectal cancer screening

Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. today. March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, a time to reflect on the importance of colorectal cancer screenings, like colonoscopies, as a method of prevention and early detection.

During colonoscopies, doctors can remove polyps before they turn into cancer—preventing disease and saving lives. While Medicare is required by law to cover colorectal cancer screenings at no cost, any polyp removal or other preventive action during screening is considered “treatment” and requires a copay. Since it’s impossible to know if a polyp will be found during screening, this bill is often a surprise to seniors on fixed incomes who have not anticipated extra costs. It may even cause people to skip out on colonoscopies entirely.

To help combat these surprise bills, last week the House and Senate introduced the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, H.R. 1570 and S. 668, respectively. This legislation would waive Medicare’s cost-sharing requirement for all preventive colonoscopies, even if a polyp or tissue is removed.

Encourage your Senator and Representative to sign on as a co-sponsor for this legislation—take our action alert today!    

Register for the 2019 Advocacy Workshop!

The 2019 Prevent Cancer Advocacy Workshop is quickly approaching! Don’t miss out on our free one-day workshop just outside of Washington, D.C. You’ll hear from experts in cancer and other diseases and have a chance to network with your peers.

This year’s agenda includes:

  • A keynote presentation from Sharon Y. Eubanks, tobacco control expert and lead counsel in United States v. Phillip Morris USA et al.
  • A panel on access barriers in care delivery, including step therapy in Medicare Part B, copay accumulators, state Medicaid waivers and more
  • A facilitated conversation on the economics of prevention, with insight into the factors contributing to the rising cost of health care and how prevention can offset them

Register today! 

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