Wasserman Schultz Joins President Biden to Reignite ‘Cancer Moonshot’ Efforts at White House

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Washington, February 2, 2022 | comments
Cancer patients, doctors and survivors like myself have two unwavering White House allies in President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris who, through this whole-of-government, White House-prioritized effort, will aggressively build on the progress we’ve made in therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-centered care.
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Washington D.C.Today, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) joined President Joe Biden at the White House to help reignite the ‘Moonshot to End Cancer as We Know It’ to reduce cancer death rates by at least 50 percent in 25 years, and to improve the experience of both life with, and after surviving this deadly disease.

“Cancer patients, doctors and survivors like myself have two unwavering White House allies in President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris who, through this whole-of-government, White House-prioritized effort, will aggressively build on the progress we’ve made in therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-centered care,” Wasserman Schultz said. “With today’s pledge to decrease the cancer mortality rate by 50 percent over the next 25 years, we can count on more major scientific advances and adopt smart COVID-19 lessons to meet this ambitious goal. First Lady Jill Biden’s call for cancer screenings after the distressing pandemic fall-off is just what we need to catch cancer early and increase survivorship. And just as President Biden was there for me in my fight and survivorship, I will be right by his side in this fight to ‘End Cancer as We Know It.’”

In 2016, then-Vice President Biden launched the Cancer Moonshot with a goal to speed up the rate of progress against cancer. Today, President Biden galvanized that effort by pledging to build on the successes that have allowed more people to survive cancer and live longer after a diagnosis. But the Bidens’ work on battling cancer, and their larger commitment to expanding screenings, treatments, and health care for Americans overall is unmatched. You can find out more about that work, recent research strides, and plans for moving forward at whitehouse.gov/cancermoonshot.

Among the Biden-Harris ‘Cancer Moonshot’ priorities announced today:

·         Establish a White House coordinator and Cancer Cabinet to marshal relevant agencies.

·         Prioritize early detection and screenings, focusing on at-risk groups and equity to access.

·         Host a Cancer Moonshot Summit, expert roundtables, and challenge private sector efforts.

After announcing her own battle with breast cancer in 2009, Wasserman Schultz introduced the EARLY Act to increase breast cancer education and awareness. The EARLY Act became part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010. She worked arm-in-arm with then-Vice President Biden to get the measure passed through Congress.

Wasserman Schultz also worked with Republican Congresswoman Renee Elmers to write and pass the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings, or PALS Act, which helps increase young women’s access to mammograms. This work remains one of the Congresswoman’s top priorities. Over that time, and recently, she has:

Restored funding for the EARLY Act. Passed as part of the ACA in 2010, it was first authorized at $9 million, then reauthorized in 2014 at $4.96 million. It was most recently bumped back up to $9 million and enacted into law as part of the FY21 Omnibus.

Protected mammogram access for younger women. The PALS Act protects access to annual mammograms with insurance coverage with no-copay starting at age 40, by extending the moratorium on the USPSTF breast cancer screening guidelines. It also ensures veterans who get healthcare from the VA, get the same access. Wasserman Schultz successfully extended that moratorium through Jan. 1, 2024.

 Filed legislation to increase genetic screening access for at-risk groups. The Reducing Hereditary Cancer Act would enable coverage of: (i) Genetic testing for inherited mutations known to significantly increase cancer risk in two Medicare populations: those with a known hereditary cancer mutation in their family, and those with a personal or family history suspicious for hereditary cancer; and (ii) for Medicare beneficiaries who have an inherited mutation causing a moderate to significant increased risk of cancer, increased cancer screening and risk-reducing surgeries.

Drafting legislation to address the entire cancer survivorship continuum of care, from diagnosis through treatment, and the transition to primary care. It will addresses issues with transition, available services, reimbursement, care planning, navigation, workforce, innovation and use of technology, education and awareness, research and studies, community care, tobacco cessation, fertility, and provisions concerning childhood cancer.

Led a multi-member letter to the CDC expressing concern with the declines in breast cancer screening over the course of the pandemic. The letter urged the CDC to provide an update on and address this concerning trend, as well as work with members of Congress on immediate solutions. She was joined by over 40 bipartisan members.

Developed a new program in the FY22 LHHSED Appropriations bill, the Alcee L. Hastings Program for Advanced Cancer Screening in Underserved Communities, to address concerns about disparities in cancer screenings in medically underserved communities. It received $25 million to fund Health Centers to collaborate with NCI-Designated Cancer Centers to increase access and address barriers to cancer screening, including patient education, case management, outreach, and other enabling services.

Included new language in the FY22 LHHSED Appropriations bill concerning the use of mRNA for cancer vaccines at the NIH’s NCI. This first-of-its-kind inclusion recognizes that mRNA cancer vaccines could potentially be among the most cost-effective methods of preventing recurrences and the high costs of cancer care.

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