Political Climate Report

The political climate in Washington is like noth-ing breast cancer advocates have ever seen before. With a new President in the White House, the climate is unpredictable, full of dis-tractions and changing almost daily! Russia! Comey! Healthcare Reform! How do breast cancer advocates make their voices heard? Advocates need to focus on the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s top two priorities for 2017 — our top priorities for NBCC’s Annual Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, June 23, 2017.

#1) Ask Senators and Representatives to urge the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees to include funding of $150 Million for the Department of De-fense (DOD) peer reviewed Breast Can-cer Research Pro-gram (BCRP) for FY2018.

The DOD BCRP is a unique program created in 1992 to “eradicate breast cancer by funding innovative, high-impact research through a partnership of scientists and consumers.” Because it is innovative and unique, it is able to fund innovative, high-risk, high-return research and quickly respond to current scientific advances. Due to its flexibility, the program is managed efficiently, allowing 90% of funding to go directly to competitive, peer-reviewed research grants awarded to the best science. The program is transparent and accountable to the public. Results are published on the pro-gram’s website which allows scientists, consumers and the public to view the progress made in breast cancer research. This program has produced extraordinary results including development of the innovative drug Herceptin® (trastuzumab).

With the current threats to medical research funding, it is important to understand how critical this program is to all those with and at risk for breast cancer — and how important it is to the Military. A 2009 study of active duty personnel reported that the incidence rates of breast cancer were significantly higher in the military compared to the general US population. A diagnosis affects their ability to serve, dis-rupts their family life, and may require that they move or relocate to obtain treatment.

#2) Ask Senators and Representatives to sup-port actions which will continue to move the country closer to Guaranteed Access to Quality Health Care for ALL and ask that any proposed changes to existing programs be examined critically in order to determine their impact on this goal.

NHBCC Board Members Jackie Staiti and Amanda Simpson at the NBCC Annual Leadership Summit in DC. In 2010, NBCC endorsed and advocat-ed for the passage of the “Affordable Care Act” (ACA). The ACA provides breast cancer survivors and others vital protections from many of the past practices of the health care systems – including elimination of lifetime caps and restrictions for women and men with preex-isting conditions. In addition, insurance compa-nies are required to cover the routine patient care costs for clinical trial participation and can-not discriminate against an individual based on participation in a clinical trial. NBCC opposes and will work to defeat any and all efforts to repeal the ACA or replace it with something less expansive.

The New Hampshire Breast Cancer Coalition is fortunate to have support for the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s 2017 legislative priorities from our entire New Hampshire congressional delegation: Congresswoman Annie McLane Kuster, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and Senator Maggie Hassan.