Leadership Development Program Members Advocate for Patient Access, Federal Funding on Capitol Hill

April 8, 2019

On April 3, participants in ASCO’s Leadership Development Program (LDP) went to Capitol Hill to speak with Members of Congress and their staff about issues critical to the cancer care community. During 36 meetings with congressional offices, members of the LDP urged lawmakers to

  • Ensure patient access to clinical trials by cosponsoring H.R. 913, the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, in the House of Representatives and supporting introduction of companion legislation in the Senate. Medicaid insures nearly one-fifth of the U.S. population and is the only major payer not required by federal law to provide coverage of the routine care costs for patients participating in a clinical trial. The legislation would federally require Medicaid to cover routine care costs, enabling more people with Medicaid to participate in trials.
  • Provide robust funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI). ASCO is urging Congress to provide $41.6 billion to the NIH – a $2.5 billion increase from FY 2019 – and $6.5 billion to the NCI. Congress has shown bipartisan support for our nations’ investment in cancer research by passing four annual consecutive funding increases for NIH and NCI. However, despite this progress, more work is needed. Considering biomedical inflation, the NIH’s purchasing power has only now just reached pre-recession levels and NCI still has a $1.1 billion shortfall.

The Hill Day was part of a 3-day session in Alexandria, Virginia, where LDP members received advocacy training, learned more about ASCO’s departments, and participated in other leadership training sessions. The year-long LDP is intended to provide a small group of mid-career oncologists with leadership skills, increased exposure to the roles and mission of ASCO, and a path to move into leadership positions within the society. Applications for the 2019-2020 cycle will open July 1, 2019.

Follow ASCO in Action for updates on ASCO’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill.