On Capitol Hill, 2021 ended with policy work mired in uncertainty.
At times, Congress appeared poised to pass at least some elements of the Build Back Better plan, which includes paid family medical leave — an Alliance priority. The US is the only industrialized nation that does not provide paid family medical leave. Countless allies impacted by colorectal cancer have to go on disability or quit their jobs without any support because of the impact of the disease.
Yet ongoing disagreements about elements of the bill and its price tag have brought the legislation to a standstill and it remains unclear what, if anything, will ultimately pass.
In this continued period of uncertainty, the Colorectal Cancer Alliance relies on three guiding principles to determine our advocacy agenda in the new year. We will evaluate proposed legislative and regulatory actions based on the following principles:
Our scientific response to the pandemic demonstrates America’s ability to innovate when it is provided the resources and urgency. We developed an effective vaccine in less than eight months, a process that normally takes years. The same approach should be taken with cancer, which claims 1,660 American lives every day. This is why the Alliance supports CURES 2.0, a bi-partisan act introduced in November designed to take 2016’s National Cancer Moonshot legislation to the next level. This year, we will continue advocating for this vital policy and share how you can get involved.
While the number of uninsured Americans has decreased significantly since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Congressional Budget Office reported that 31 million Americans still lack any health insurance, and many others are underinsured. A study by the American Cancer Society shows that the uninsured are:
- Far less likely to be screened for cancer
- More likely to be diagnosed at an advanced disease stage
- And less likely to survive.
The Alliance believes that your chance of getting and surviving cancer should not depend on whether or not you have enough money to buy health insurance. In 2022, we will advocate for state and federal legislation to improve access to health insurance, as well as advocating directly with insurance companies
It is a sad fact that the color of your skin, where you call home, and whether you have disabilities — among many other life circumstances — influence whether you’re more or less likely to get and survive colorectal cancer. Disparities in colorectal cancer screening, diagnosis, and treatment continue to persist.
In 2022, the Alliance will advocate for public policy that seeks to reduce disparities in colorectal cancer. In particular, we look forward to action on the Health Equity and Accountability Act, with the inclusion of initiatives to improve colorectal cancer screening in minority populations. In the months ahead we will provide details about this vital legislation and how you can get involved in supporting it.
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While members of Congress are interested in the views of organizations like the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, what really matters to them is voters in their district or state. Your voice can make a real difference in what Congress does in the year ahead. Your voice can save lives.
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