By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy

Governors Push Senators for 2018 ACA Funding

Summer 2017 saw several attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), none of which were successful. Now that the dust has started to settle—and Congress is slowly moving on to other issues—many are still dealing with the uncertainty left in the wake of the nation’s healthcare debate. This includes many concerned governors who are lobbying for funds to address their states’ current needs.

Two Senators, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murry (D-WA), are working to craft a bipartisan bill that addresses issues in the individual health insurance market at both a federal and state level. After hearing from governors, Alexander expressed his frustration with the process—especially since the senators only have until the end of September 2017 to submit their bill for the federal budget. The timing is tight, and Murry and Alexander need the support of the Senate, House, and president. It’s not an impossible task, but it will certainly be a herculean effort.

NCI Requests Input on Bioethics in Cancer Research

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has published a request for information and feedback from stakeholders interested in bioethics and cancer research, clinical care, and public health. This comes as part of the efforts of the 2016 NCI Cancer and Bioethics Workgroup, which aims to foster bioethics research and coordinate education for the cancer community. To achieve those goals, the workgroup is looking to the cancer community for feedback into areas of bioethics relevant to cancer.

Patients, practitioners, researchers, and physicians are encouraged to weigh in to help direct the focus and scope of the NCI’s efforts. Comments can be directed to cancerandbioethics@nih.gov or mailed directly to their offices at the following address:

Charlisse Caga-anan
National Cancer Institute
DCCPS/EGRP/Genomic Epidemiology Branch
9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 4E236
Bethesda, MD 20892-9763

Medical professionals and members of the cancer community have until October 6, 2017, to submit their comments to the NCI.

Congress Braces for Full September Agenda

With only weeks before the end of federal budget season, Congress faces a packed September agenda. It’s one they’ll need to swiftly address to avoid a potential shutdown on October 1. For the budget, Congress will most likely seek to pass a continuing resolution—a bill that will fund the government through December and provide lawmakers with more breathing room to address their laundry list of issues.

September’s agenda includes government funding, debt ceiling, federal aid for recent natural disasters, health insurance market, tax reforms, federal nominations, immigration, defense, surveillance, and more. It’s a daunting list, and many of those issues are hotly contested between the two parties. It will be interesting to see how Congress makes its way to the end of September. As always, ONS will continue to advocate for oncology nursing workforce support, as well as affordable access to health care and cancer treatments. 

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