Thursday, April 9, 2009

National Breast Cancer Coalition 2009 Policy Agenda

National Breast Cancer Coalition 2009 Legislative & Public Policy Priorities

LEGISLATIVE Priority #1 Guaranteed access to quality health care for all.

We will not achieve our mission of eradicating breast cancer until everyone has guaranteed access to quality health care. NBCC's Board of Directors adopted a Framework for a Health Care System Guaranteeing Access to Quality Health Care for All in 2007, after extensive analysis and deliberation. This Framework builds on NBCC's longstanding principles and core values for quality health care. NBCC will use this framework to educate and mobilize grassroots advocates to demand political leadership and action towards comprehensive health care reform.

LEGISLATIVE Priority #2 $150 million for FY10 for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program.

As a result of NBCC's advocacy and strong bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill, more than $2 billion has been invested in this competitive peer-reviewed research Program. This innovative Program has changed the world of breast cancer research. The inclusion of consumers in every aspect of decision-making and the Program's unique grant opportunities have led to groundbreaking scientific advances.


Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act.

The strategies outlined in the NBCC supported Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act (BCERA) would result in an overarching plan to look at the links between the environment and breast cancer and a new model of resource allocation at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NBCC is looking at various strategies to achieve the intent of BCERA.

Quality Breast Cancer Care.

While we advocate for guaranteed access through a framework for a system governing coverage for health care, we must also push for quality care. One step toward quality is determining how to measure whether the public is getting the right care for breast cancer. NBCC is working on quality measures that will become the basis of our campaign for regulatory and legislative reform in this area. Preservation of the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP). While NBCC pursues its work on guaranteeing access to quality health care for all, we are committed to making sure women with breast cancer have access to the care they need. The BCCTP provides enhanced matching funds to states to provide full Medicaid coverage to low-income, uninsured women screened and diagnosed with breast and/or cervical cancer through a federal program. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have opted into the program, but efforts to reduce funding for Medicaid or dramatically alter the program threaten the future of the BCCTP. NBCC will work to protect and preserve the BCCTP.

Transparency and Accountability at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI).

NBCC strongly believes that the enterprise of clinical and scientific research at NIH could be vastly improved with greater participation from educated health care consumers and trained advocates who can help to inform all aspects of decision making at NCI and across the Institutes. NBCC also has deep concerns about the lack of transparency, external oversight and accountability in research priority-setting, decision-making and evaluation. What is needed is to determine the right process for and atmosphere within which biomedical research will be prioritized and conducted. We must make certain that the process is inclusive and maximizes our ability to get the right research done in the right way.

More info

Update - Legislative Agenda

Great News! National Breast Cancer Coalition has announced their 2009 Legislative Agenda. For those who will be traveling to Washington DC May 2-5, this is the legislative agenda we will be working with on Capitol Hill.

NBCC consistently develops high quality, forward thinking public policy agendas. We'll discuss the 2009 Agenda during our Conference Call Monday, March 23.
The 2009 agenda is broader in scope as Congress and the White House focus more on our future and place greater emphasis on providing quality health care for all and increasing funding for cancer research. While we often see appeals to pass legislation on specific areas of breast cancer research and treatment, we feel its better to take a systemic approach to advancing research and improving health care for breast cancer patients.

I'm pleased to see the Breast Cancer & Environmental Research Act included on the agenda. All of you worked incredibly hard during the last several years to gain passage of this important bill, only to see it significantly weakened and damaged prior to passage last fall.

Preservation of the Breast & Cervical Cancer Treatment Program is another important priority. While NBCC's number one legislative priority is guaranteed access to quality health care for all, there remains some uncertainty about whether the various strategies for health care reform being considered at the federal level will accomplish full, affordable coverage for all in the near term. Cancer care is expensive and cancer patients are often last on the list of groups that legislators want to cover. Its vital to continue supporting BCCTP until a plan is in place that covers everyone.

Guaranteed Access to Health Care For All remains the number one priority. NBCC was one of the first health advocacy groups to adopt this agenda and define core principles and values to help shape strategies for accomplishing this goal. You can read more about NBCC's Framework here.

There are many other details to learn and discuss related to this agenda. NBCC is working on Capitol Hill to ensure breast cancer advocates are part of the decision-making process. More details will be available soon.

Monday, April 6, 2009

60 Minutes On Lack of Cancer Care

The nation's economic recession is having a devastating impact on cancer care as more uninsured cancer patients find themselves unable to get the treatment they need.