Cancer Doctors Look for Strong Health Care Priorities in the State of the Union Address

Improved access to high-quality, equitable health care and increased medical research funding among top priorities
February 7, 2023

In anticipation of President Biden’s State of the Union Address, the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is urging the president to keep cancer care and research as top national priorities. 

Cancer doctors have seen how clinical research has improved prevention, detection, and treatment for millions of Americans and are eager to support continued investments in one of scientific medicine’s most promising areas. In relaunching the Cancer Moonshot, President Biden called for an “All of Government” approach to accelerate progress to benefit the care of patients with cancer—and all of society—but those ambitious goals need resources. 

“There’s no doubt that the president’s Cancer Moonshot initiative along with the strong bipartisan support for biomedical research in Congress has had a profound impact on the pace and progress of cancer research,” said ASCO Board Chair Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO. “However, past achievements do not guarantee future success. Consistent investment is necessary to ensure research can meet its full potential. We cannot risk a damaging stop-start approach to funding where new discoveries are lost, and promising young researchers become discouraged and leave the field.”

Progress against cancer could also be blunted if patients do not have insurance or face other barriers to care. Medicaid and Medicare are essential components to providing health care to millions of Americans. ASCO continues to work to strengthen both these programs by advocating for Medicaid expansion through its state affiliates, working to reduce delays to timely patient care due to burdensome prior authorization requirements, and establishing long-term Medicare reimbursement solutions to preserve patient access to equitable, high-quality cancer care. 

“As reflected in President Biden’s Moonshot goals, successfully reducing our nation’s cancer burden requires a comprehensive approach from the research lab to the patients’ bedside,” said Dr. Pierce. "ASCO looks forward to working with the Administration and Congress to pass policies necessary to save more lives from this disease.”