ASCO strongly opposes the Administration’s proposed cuts to federal agencies that support biomedical research and Medicaid for Fiscal Year 2018, including a 21 percent proposed funding cut for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a 20 percent proposed funding cut for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and reducing Medicaid funding by more than $600 billion. Such extreme reductions to programs that are critical to research will fundamentally damage our nation’s progress in treating patients and will irreversibly harm our nation’s already fragile biomedical research infrastructure.
Thanks to federally funded research, the outlook for patients with cancer has vastly improved during the last 50 years. There are now a record 15 million cancer survivors in the United States—compared with around 7 million in 1991 and 3 million in 1971. U.S. cancer death rates have fallen 25 percent since the early 1990s, and quality of life for patients with cancer has dramatically improved. A revolution in our understanding of cancer has resulted in precise and effective treatments targeted to a person’s cancer type, genetics, age, and health status.
Investments through NIH have fueled much of this progress. NIH pursues research that only the government can address, including fundamental, basic research that provides keys to the genesis and biology of cancers; risky, pioneering clinical studies in rare-disease patient populations; and large-scale prevention studies that private industry has little incentive to pursue. Federal research funding is also a key driver of economic strength and scientific leadership in this country, supporting more than 400,000 jobs and contributing roughly $60 billion in economic activity annually.
The President’s proposed budget is extremely disappointing, but we remain encouraged by bipartisan support from Congress that resulted in increased NIH and NCI funding in both FY 2016 and FY 2017. Biomedical research is one of our nation’s best investments, and we urge Congress to build on the momentum they have created and provide robust increases for NIH in FY 2018. Our biomedical research infrastructure is vital to sustaining the health and safety of our citizens. If allowed to crumble, it will take decades to rebuild.
ASCO is ready to work with lawmakers to develop a budget that adequately funds the cancer care and research infrastructure—and better serves the estimated 2.1 million Medicaid beneficiaries who have a cancer diagnosis or are cancer survivors. Gutting critical federal support at this time will jeopardize Americans’ health and our country’s scientific leadership and economic growth.
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents more than 40,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at www.ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.