Issue Position: Health Care - Winning the Fight Against Cancer
Since declaring a war on cancer in 1971, we as a nation have taken incredible strides in addressing the devastating impact of this disease. Despite achieving many life-saving advances, the war against cancer is an ongoing struggle that continues every day. This year alone cancer will claim 565,000 Americans lives.
As President, John McCain will support the efforts to win the fight against cancer through a comprehensive public-private strategy:
Stronger and More Coordinated Research
John McCain has been a strong supporter of cancer research programs both in public and private sectors. He sees a coordinated and strong research effort as a foundation for defeating cancer.
Ensuring that our doctors and scientists have appropriate funding to continue their research efforts is an important priority. John McCain has voted to double the funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH), and as President will make sure that our researchers have necessary funding to defeat cancer once and for all.
He will work to better coordinate the efforts between the government sector, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the private sector, especially with a focus on translational research so new discoveries in laboratories can be translated quickly and more efficiently to patients' bedsides. He will also engage the next generation of researchers early in this fight through academic curriculums and internships.
As co-sponsor of legislation which aimed to provide better access to clinical trials including cancer, John McCain understands their critical role as essential testing grounds for new break through treatments. He also supported the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act that, among other changes, modernized the registry for clinical trial information. John McCain will continue to stress the importance of clinical trials.
Importantly, John McCain recognizes the need to understand the reasons behind the onset of cancer are just as important as the research to treat it. He has co-sponsored legislation that would create research centers that would study environmental factors that may be related to the etiology of breast cancer.
Greater Focus on Healthy Living and Early Detection
The key to winning the fight on cancer is to ensure that we focus on creating a healthier lifestyle for all of us. The McCain health plan focuses on working with businesses and insurance companies to widely employ common sense approaches like smoking cessation programs, healthier eating habits, and more active lifestyle to not only reduce incidence of cancer but also chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
John McCain authored comprehensive legislation reducing the sale, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products to minors and educating the public about the dangers associated with tobacco use, particularly cancer. He also supports wider implementation of smoking cessation programs to promote a healthier lifestyle for all Americans.
Early detection is an essential element of a successful cancer treatment regimen. For breast cancer, we need to continue to refine imaging and screening techniques that identify onset of cancer sooner. John McCain has been a champion on these issues:
* Co-sponsored and fought for implementation of mammography standards and succeeded in getting Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) passed in 1992.
* Lead efforts to reauthorize this important legislation to ensure that the new digital mammography technology advancements were incorporated into the national standards to ensure that women all across America have access to state of the art detection technology.
* Fought to expand Medicare coverage to include mammography and colorectal screenings.
Access to Quality and Affordable Care for All
Throughout our health care system, the great goal is to make the best care available to everyone. Underlying the many things that trouble our health-care system are the fundamental problems of cost and access. And these rising costs are by no means always accompanied by better quality in care or coverage.
The key to real reform is to restore control over our health-care system to the patients themselves. John McCain will build on the employer-based coverage, by offering generous tax credits directly to individuals and families for the purchase of health insurance of their choice, including keeping their current coverage. While fully protecting employer provided health care benefits, this plan will offer additional assistance to those without employer provided coverage and to those who move in and out of the work force and don't want their health coverage tied to an employer's plan. These health plans would be yours, and yours to keep.
Most importantly, John McCain believes that no American, simply because of a pre-existing condition like cancer, should be denied access to quality and affordable coverage. This is a very important priority in his health care plan. And to make sure they get the high-quality coverage they need, John McCain has proposed a Guaranteed Access Plan (GAP) that will combine industry, state, and federal resources to help in the purchase of coverage for those hardest to insure, including patients with pre-existing conditions like cancer. There would be limits on premiums, and lower-income Americans would get additional financial assistance.
This cooperation among states in the purchase of insurance would also be a crucial step in ridding the market of both needless and costly regulations, and the dominance in the market of only a few insurance companies. John McCain will break down these barriers to competition, creativity, and excellence, with the goal of establishing a national market to make innovative policies and lowest prices available to every person in every state.
Finally, John McCain will continue to be a leader in pushing for greater competition in the drug and biotechnology industry through faster introduction of generic drugs and by allowing safe and effective follow-on biologics (FOBs) to enter the marketplace while ensuring that future research and development is not hindered. This will ensure that all patients, including cancer patients, have access to more affordable life-saving medications.