What is public policy and how does it impact cancer care?

Public policy is a system of regulatory decisions, legislative actions, funding priorities, and other courses of action as well as analysis of these actions by advocates and other groups. Everyone who is diagnosed with cancer is impacted by public policy. This impact can include funding for research for certain therapies, screening guidelines, Medicare coverage for treatment, and many more financial and practical issues related to care. Since the beginning of the survivorship movement, policy change has been essential to ensuring cancer survivors have access to high-quality, evidence-based cancer care.

Cancer Care Public Policy The MarchNCCS is a patient advocate group that focuses its efforts on the reform of the health care system to make it more responsive to the needs of cancer patients. For more than a quarter-century, NCCS has worked with legislators and policy makers to represent cancer patients in efforts to improve their quality of care and quality of life after diagnosis, with numerous Policy Accomplishments, including legislation, regulation, payment issues, and studies.

NCCS’s Policy Priorities include legislation and regulations and with a potential impact on cancer survivors and the health care and health care coverage they may receive. This is especially important as the Administration implements the health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and Congress considers changes to Medicare and other health care programs, as well as possible funding cuts for health care programs. A key priority for NCCS has been the enactment of the 2013 PACT Act. Additionally, NCCS monitors proposed regulations and submits Policy Comments to regulatory agencies when appropriate, with a focus on ensuring Quality Cancer Care. NCCS has played a leadership role in building the evidence base for quality cancer care by contributing to numerous Influential Publications.

NCCS collaborates with other organizations to develop and advance a patient-centered approach that responds to the needs of cancer survivors.  Two initiatives NCCS facilitates to foster such collaboration are the Cancer Policy Roundtable and the Cancer Leadership Council. Additionally, NCCS disseminates Cancer Policy News to keep its constituents and stakeholders informed about important policy developments, studies, news items and commentary relevant to quality cancer care.

While NCCS represents the perspective of survivors on public policy issues, it is important for policy makers to hear directly from cancer survivors about their experiences. As survivors who have been there and experienced cancer personally, NCCS knows that quality cancer care doesn’t just happen — it takes Cancer Advocacy.