New Director Sworn in at NCI
For the past two years, an acting director has served at the head of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). However, President Trump recently selected Norman E. Sharpless, MD, as the 15th director of the NCI. Sharpless, an oncologist with research and clinical experience, said he was humbled by the selection and is looking forward to carrying on NCI’s great mission.
Lancet Oncology Commission Releases Cancer Research Priorities
The future of oncology care hinges on the implementation of new sciences, the collaboration of researchers, and timeliness with which healthcare professionals can integrate change into practice, according to a new report released by Lancet Oncology.
CDC Releases Latest Cancer Report
Breakthroughs and advancements in research and management have significantly changed the ways we understand how cancer works and how best to treat it. Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its Annual Report to the Nation on the State of Cancer.
House Passes CHIP Reauthorization Bill, Helps Insure Children With Cancer
On November 3, 2017, the House of Representatives passed HR 3922, the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) program for an additional five years. The act also reauthorizes public health programs. Previous funding for the CHIP program had expired September 30, 2017.
What the Next Phase of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative Means for Oncology Nurses
In one bold declaration during his final State of the Union Address in 2016, President Barack Obama raised our hopes to a singular goal—ending cancer as we know it—as he announced the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, now called the Biden Cancer Initiative. Grounded in real research with tangible results, the intent was not even that daring: it was more realistic. Eradicating cancer, now understood to be many different aspects of the same disease, in five years was unlikely, but rather the goal was to achieve in five years what previously would take a decade.
Sanders Gains Support for Single-Payer Health Care Push; GOP Senators Put Forth Graham-Cassidy Healthcare Bill; New Toolkit Helps Nurses Integrate Genomics in Cancer Care
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) recently gave an interview for The Nation to discuss his announcement and subsequent push for a single-payer healthcare system in the United States. During his 2016 presidential bid, Sanders campaigned for universal health care and gained significant support from the public. However, many on Capitol Hill were still unsure of a “Medicare-for-all” plan. Despite the initially tepid response, Sanders recently outlined a new single-payer healthcare bill he plans to introduce, and he’s gaining surprising support from several senators in Washington, DC.
All Politics, Even Health Policy, Is Local
Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Tip O’Neill was fond of saying, “All politics is local.” What he meant was, if an elected official took care of the constituents back home, then whatever happened in Washington, DC, wouldn’t matter as much. Whatever issues most affected voters in the legislative district, then that is where members of Congress should spend their time.
Oncology Nurses Need to Advocate for Access to Quality Care
Specialized Knowledge: Quality Care. This is my ONS presidential platform. In several columns, I have discussed how ONS resources can provide you with the specialized knowledge and expertise to provide quality care. This issue, I’d like to focus on quality care.
ONS Supports Medicare Coverage of Lymphedema Compression Supplies
On August 25, 2017, ONS submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee in response to its Medicare Red Tape Relief Project. The initiative, sponsored by subcommittee chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), asked providers for input on ways to improve health care for seniors and reduce Medicare regulations and mandates.
ONS Opposes CMS Adjustment Payments for Part B Drugs
On August 21, 2017, ONS submitted comments to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, opposing the agency’s proposed policy to include Medicare Part B drugs in the calculation of Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) payment adjustments.
ONS Shares Views on Advance Care Planning, Patient Access to Opioids in Comment Letter to CMS
ONS joined the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) in signing a final comment letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator, Seema Verma, on the agency’s proposed 2018 updates to the Quality Payment Program, CMS-5522-P. PQLC, which represents patients, health professionals, and healthcare systems, advocates for palliative care for patients and families facing serious illness.
Former HHS Secretaries Urge Trump to Support ACA; Every U.S. County Will Have ACA Marketplace Option; Government May Look to Continuing Resolution to Prevent Shutdown
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, is likely here to stay. After previous attempts to repeal and replace the nation’s healthcare legislation, the Senate has finally moved on to other issues. However, this hasn’t stopped President Trump from attempting to undercut some of the financial components of the ACA. Recently, former Health and Human Services (HHS) secretaries from both the Democrats and Republicans urged Trump to support ACA subsidies that could affect the cost of more than 10 million American’s healthcare plans.
“Light” Cigarettes to Blame for Rise in Lung Adenocarcinoma
High-ventilation (light) cigarettes have no health benefits to smokers and have likely contributed to increased incidence of adenocarcinoma deep in the lungs, according to the results of a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Republicans May Aim to Repeal ACA Without a Replacement Plan; Majority of Americans Support Government Health Care; Q&A With New Jersey State Nurses Association CEO
After failing to garner support for the GOP’s healthcare bill in the Senate—known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that the next strategy for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be to repeal the legislation without any concrete healthcare bill to replace it. In 2015, the Senate already successful voted to repeal the ACA, but it was vetoed by former President Obama. According to McConnell, the 2017 repeal effort would provide a two-year window to ensure a stable transition.
21st Century Cures Is a Broad Law That Impacts Narrow Categories
“Congress is working together on a nonpartisan issue that will have a profound effect on the lives of all Americans. H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, will bring our health care innovation infrastructure into the 21st Century, delivering hope for patients and loved ones and providing necessary resources to researchers to continue their efforts to uncover the next generation of cures and treatments,” Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) discussed their vision for the 21st Century Cures initiative in April 2014.
UNC’s Norman Sharpless Named NCI Director; Senators Back to Work on Healthcare Bill; National Institutes of Health Director to Remain
On June 12, 2017, President Trump named Norman Sharpless, MD, as director of National Cancer Institute (NCI). Sharpless, formerly the director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of North Carolina, is a practicing oncologist and cancer researcher. He will take over as for Doug Lowry, MD, who has been the NCI’s acting director since 2015.
Bipartisan Cancer Parity Drug Legislation Introduced in U.S. Congress
Two members of the House of Representatives have put political party differences aside and introduced bipartisan legislation that requires health insurers to cover traditional chemotherapy, along with oral medications associated with cancer treatment. U.S. Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Brian Higgins (D-NY) have proposed the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R. 1409). The intent of the bill is to ensure appropriate oncologic treatments are affordable and covered for patients with cancer.
Presidential Personnel Appointments That Affect Healthcare Policy
There is a difference between campaigning and governing. Running for office is about putting out bold ideas and galvanizing a base of supporters who are energized by the opportunity for real change. It’s exhilarating and fluid. The momentum can be like a rock concert, and people are carried away with excitement about the future.
Trump Budget Proposal Cuts Healthcare Spending, Research; GOP’s Healthcare Bill Faces Stiff Resistance
On March 15, 2017, the Trump administration released its first budget proposal, slashing federal spending in many areas of health care, education, environmental protection, and the sciences while increasing funding for defense and homeland security. The proposed budget would decrease spending for the Department of Health and Human Services by nearly 18%, which includes a 20% budget cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—a decrease of nearly $6 billion. This stands to impact a number of cancer-related research programs developing new treatments and drugs through NIH funding.
Biden Foundation to Continue Cancer Moonshot Work
To a crowd of more than 1,300 attendees at the South by Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, TX, on March 12, 2017, former Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Biden Foundation, his new nonprofit organization, would be continuing the work of the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which he led during his final year as vice president.
Opportunities Exist for Health Policy Compromise in 2017
The 115th U.S. Congress was sworn into office on January 3, 2017. Capitol Hill was abuzz with congratulatory smiles, wide-eyed optimism, and not a small amount of relief for those who survived last November’s election.
Honoring the Legacy of Retiring Congresswoman Lois Capps, RN
Here’s What Oncology Nurses Need to Know About Health Policy Areas of Focus for 2017
As 2017 begins, ONS is hard at work supporting several new policies that could shape health care in the coming months and years. Although the election season has ended, ONS’s ongoing advocacy for oncology nurses and patients with cancer continues.
Your Vote Determines More Than the Presidential Election
New Law and Policies Will Fight Opioid Epidemic
ONS Members Educate Policy Makers About the Need for Pain Management
Discarded Excess U.S. Cancer Drugs Cost $1.8 Billion per Year
What Political Issues Will Affect Oncology Nursing in the 2016 Election?
Congress Passes 2016 Budget With Several Increases to Health and Cancer Spending
In a bipartisan move, Congress successfully passed the $1.15 trillion omnibus spending bill on December 18, 2015 along with a $680 billion tax package to finalize their 2016 budget, which will fund the government until September 30, 2016.