In an April 24 letter
, AACI called upon congressional leadership to consider the needs of academic cancer centers in any new COVID-19 supplemental response legislation. The letter highlights the vulnerability of patients with cancer in particular, who bear a considerable risk for contracting the coronavirus. Many of these patients are immunosuppressed, and most have serious comorbidities that make them especially susceptible to complications and poor outcomes from COVID-19. As a result, the cost of providing care to these patients has risen significantly for cancer centers.
In the letter, AACI supports the request of the higher education community for supplemental appropriations of $26 billion for major research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense Science & Technology programs, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and others.
AACI also supports the request by the American Hospital Association (AHA) to provide $100 billion in additional funding for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund for hospitals and health systems. This would provide equitable access to federal funding, allowing hospitals and providers to recoup a portion of COVID-19 related losses and expenses. Academic cancer centers are among the health care providers that are addressing COVID-19 on the front lines. It is essential that any future COVID-19 response ensures that cancer research and treatment can continue with minimal disruptions.
The letter also emphasized priorities that were previously shared in an April 15 letter that included AACI as a lead signatory among nearly 50 other cancer advocacy organizations. These priorities are oral chemotherapy parity, requiring insurers to provide a 90-day supply of retail medications, creating a special enrollment period for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (HealthCare.gov), increasing funding for state Medicaid programs, and providing assistance for people who have lost employer-sponsored health coverage.
AACI is encouraging our members to share the letter with their members of Congress to highlight the critical needs of academic cancer centers amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Download and Share the Letter