Fight CRC works with our Congressional Advisory Committee (CAC) and advocacy partners to develop our legislative goals. We monitor all federal legislative initiatives that impact colorectal cancer. Once we monitor, we determine if issues should be supported, and if so, at what level. Sometimes support means we sign on or draft a letter of support. Sometimes we make a public comment. Other times we engage our advocates through grassroots campaigns and ask advocates to make their voices heard.

 Read a Summary of the Priorities 

 

Legislative priorities for 2017


Issue 1: Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screenings


Ask: Fight Colorectal Cancer requests your support by cosponsoring the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1220 / S. 624).

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, it was the administration’s intention that cancer screenings would be available to Americans at no cost. And for the most part, it has been successful. However, a key group of citizens have not received this benefit due to a loophole in Medicare policy. Medicare beneficiaries are being held responsible for paying coinsurance when a colorectal cancer screening colonoscopy involves the removal of polyps or other tissue during the procedure.

Passing the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (H.R. 1220 /S. 624) would eliminate unexpected costs for Medicare beneficiaries. By removing this financial barrier, Congress would help increase screening rates among seniors and reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer.

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Issue 2: Increasing Funding for the CDC Colorectal Cancer Control Program


Ask: Fight Colorectal Cancer requests an increase in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP) to $70 million to provide for CRCCPs in all 50 states.

A number of barriers contribute to low colorectal cancer screening rates, such as lack of awareness and misinformation about screening – not just lack of health coverage. The majority of CRCCP funds are used for education and awareness, particularly targeted at populations for which significant screening disparities exist and is why continued funding for CDC colorectal cancer prevention programs is needed. Increasing funding to $70 million would provide for CRCCPs in all 50 states.

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Issue 3: Investing in Cancer Research


Ask: Fight Colorectal Cancer requests appropriators provide at least $34.6 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), including $5.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for FY 2017; provide funding of $50 million to the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program (PRCRP) for FY 2017; and support the 21st Century Cures Act.

Funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Cancer research funding as a share of the NIH’s budget has declined while the scientific and public health need has increased. Colorectal cancer research funding through the NIH declined from $313 million in FY 2011 to $272 million in FY 2015 and the NCI investment in colorectal cancer research decreased from $273.4 million in FY 2008 to $256.3 million in FY 2012.

Every state benefits economically from NIH funding. The NIH spending in 2012 produced $58 billion in new economic activity, including more than 400,000 jobs.[1] Cuts to the NIH negatively impact the ability of researchers to have their grant proposals funded, which puts the United States at risk of losing a generation of young researchers. Even modest increases to the NIH have resulted in fewer research awards. When adjusted for inflation, there has been a $10 billion cumulative loss in cancer research funding since 2003[2].

Cancer research can also lead to health care system savings. If research permanently reduced cancer mortality by a mere one percent, it would be worth nearly $500 billion in savings.[3] Yet, funding for cancer research lacks proportion to what the country spends on cancer care. Funding for the NCI is just over $5 billion, while the annual direct cost of cancer care is $158 billion.

Funding for the Department of Defense (DoD) Peer Reviewed Cancer Research Program

While requesting funding for the NIH and NCI is very straightforward, funding for the DoD PRCRP is more complex. To fund research for a specific disease through this program, the disease must be relevant to the military and has to be specifically included as part of the PRCRP portion of the DoD appropriations bill.

Colorectal, lung, breast, cervical, prostate, and pancreatic are all included in the program and affect members of the military and their families at a higher rate than other cancers.

According to a study published in the June 2009 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers found that colorectal cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among active duty military personnel. Yet, screening rates among military personnel for colorectal cancer remain low. As published in the 2009 Humana Military’s Clinical Quality Report Card, only 58 percent of those in the military were up to date with screening in 2008. The PRCRP has supported research into treatments for colorectal cancer, including research into treatments that would block the growth of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Supporting 21st Century Cures

The House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) with a strong bipartisan vote of 344-77 in July 2015. This legislation aims to modernize clinical trials, invest in 21st century science and next generation investigators by increasing NIH funding by $1.75 billion per year for 5 years and incorporate the patient perspective into the drug development and regulatory process.

We need the House and Senate to agree on a final version of this bill so it can be passed as a law.

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Issues We’re Monitoring

To make sure voices of colorectal cancer patients are being heard, we are an active member of several coalitions that address issues we actively monitor.

Currently, these issues include:


[1] The Impact of a Sequester on the National Institutes of Health and Implications for Jobs and the U.S. Economy. United for Medical Research. February 2013.

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/about-nci/budget

[3] Medical Research: Saving Lives, Reducing the Cost of Health Care, Powering the Economy. ResearchAmerica. http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/EconomicFactSheet.pdf.