ASCO Commends President Biden for Prioritizing Cancer Research in State of the Union Speech

March 11, 2024

In his last State of the Union address this term, President Joe Biden emphasized critical policy priorities that the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) continues to advocate for on behalf of oncologists, their teams, and the profession.

The speech covered a wide range of health care issues, including a call for continued support for medical research. In a statement sent prior to the speech, ASCO urged the president to advocate for robust funding for cancer research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)—the latter receiving a shout out during the 66-minute address.

“We owe it to ourselves to keep supporting our new health research agency ARPA-H [to] remind us that we can do big things like end cancer as we know it!” he said.

ARPA-H is a research funding agency that supports transformative biomedical and health breakthroughs.

“The president’s steadfast commitment to accelerating progress in cancer research, and the years-long bipartisan Congressional support for increased federal cancer research funding, has resulted in rapid advancements for the treatment of many cancers," said Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO, Chair of the Board, Association for Clinical Oncology. "More than ever, we are seeing the benefits of past investments in new breakthroughs and the National Cancer Plan provides a clear roadmap to maximize these benefits for the greatest good. We need Congress and the administration to work together to protect cancer research funding in the FY 24 and FY 25 appropriations process to ensure this progress continues."

In addition to advocating for research, President Biden talked about making prescription drugs more affordable. He also vowed to continue his commitment to expanding access to health insurance, which is a critical need for people with cancer, and to protect the Affordable Care Act, which covers more than 40 million Americans. "Over one hundred million of you can no longer be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions," he said.

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