By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

No Vote on Health Costs Bill Before August Recess

From soaring prescription medication costs to surprise medical bills, the issue of high healthcare costs has dominated headlines for months. Both sides of the aisle have been outspoken about the issue in a rare showing of bipartisanship. But despite the attention paid to the issue, little has been done legislatively to corral rising healthcare costs for patients and consumers. The recent announcement that the Senate wouldn’t vote on its healthcare cost bill prior to the August recess has left many wondering if the issue would be addressed at all.

As 2020 presidential election campaigns ramp up, it’s likely that bipartisan compromise will become even rarer on Capitol Hill. Financial toxicity and the burden of cost are real issues for patients with cancer—consider sharing your voice with lawmakers to educate them on this very real side effect of cancer treatment.

FDA Launches Youth Tobacco Prevention Campaign

This week a congressional committee accused e-cigarette manufacturer Juul of specifically and aggressively targeting youth to encourage the use of electronic tobacco products. At the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reinforced the agency’s Real Cost campaign by releasing new TV ads about the dangers of vaping and tobacco consumption.

The agency’s approach comes after months of negative publicity suggesting FDA was not doing enough to combat the youth smoking epidemic. U.S. Senators have publicly condemned FDA for a perceived lackadaisical approach to electronic tobacco products. FDA’s renewed commitment to its public health campaign is a strong step forward to fix both its image and health policy for youth smoking cessation.

Despite GOP Resistance, Senate Committee Advances Drug Pricing Bill

It appeared that finding a bipartisan solution—or certainly a compromise—to the rising costs and limited supplies of drugs was an election year issue that both parties could embrace. Despite past messages of unity, several Republicans voted against a Senate Finance Committee proposal to lower drug prices. The GOP opponents feared the bill represented a betrayal to party principles for a free market economy.

Although the GOP opposition doesn’t bode well for the bill’s success in the Senate, most Americans surveyed have come to believe that their health care falls outside the usual parameters of economics. For many voters, issuese of costs, fees, and profits shouldn’t be in the forefront of the discussion when chronic cancer, cardiovascular, and endocrine diseases are at stake. Learn what oncology nurses need to know about affordability and the cost of cancer care on the Oncology Nursing Podcast.