Proposed Debt Deal Would Harm Cancer Research and Create Barriers to Cancer Care

Reduced federal funding for NIH and Medicaid work requirements would combine to slow nation’s progress against cancer
For immediate release
April 19, 2023


Allison Miller

Today members of the U.S. House of Representatives unveiled a proposed legislative deal to reduce federal spending in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling. The proposal includes significant funding cuts to federal agencies, which would include resources for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI). It also proposes adding work requirements for Medicaid enrollment.

A statement from Dr. Julie Gralow, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, Association of Clinical Oncology follows:

“This proposal risks significantly slowing the progress our nation is making against cancer. At a time when medical research at the NIH and NCI is rapidly advancing this would delay potentially significant improvements in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. To suddenly slash the agency’s resources would abruptly halt progress and harm patients now and in the future as the nation would risk losing a generation of young researchers no longer able to obtain research funding. This would also jeopardize the United States' status as a leader of medical research and innovation and would leave patients and providers with a diminished source of hope for defeating a disease that more than 1.9 million Americans will be diagnosed with this year alone.

“The proposal would also harm millions of people’s access to equitable, high-quality cancer care by instituting burdensome work requirements on Medicaid eligibility. More than two million people with a history of cancer rely on Medicaid for their health care, in addition to millions of others who need access to coverage to obtain timely cancer screenings and other essential services. Many patients with cancer become too sick to work during their treatment and come to rely on Medicaid when they are no longer able to maintain employer-based or other health insurance coverage. Imposing work requirements would only serve to delay or deny people with limited incomes the care they need while also increasing the challenges providers face when trying to provide lifesaving health services.”

“We understand there are many competing priorities when it comes to federal funding; however, maintaining world-class medical research and ensuring timely, equitable access to quality cancer care should always remain paramount. We urge Congress and the Administration to work together to find solutions to our country’s budgetary needs that bolster cancer research funding and reject harmful barriers to care.”

About ASCO: 

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 45,000 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, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.