American Cancer Society Advertising Campaign Is Against Lack Of Affordable Health Coverage In US

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The American Cancer Society'sdecision to "no longer run ads about the dangers of smoking and othercancer-causing behaviors and the benefits of regular screenings" will"waste money that should be used to continue the society's educationalcampaign about prevention and detection," Betsy McCaughey, a formerlieutenant governor of New York and chair of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths, writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece (McCaughey, Wall Street Journal,9/14). ACS last month announced its plan to use this year's entireadvertising budget of $15 million to campaign against inadequate healthinsurance coverage (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/31).

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Accordingto McCaughey, "evidence shows that universal health coverage does notimprove survival rates for cancer patients." She continues, "Despitethe larger number of uninsured, cancer patients in the U.S. are mostlikely to be screened regularly, have the fastest access to treatmentonce they are diagnosed with the disease and can get new, effectivedrugs long before they're available in most other countries."

McCaugheywrites, "International comparisons establish that the current method offinancing health care in the U.S. is not a bigger killer than tobacco,"adding, "What is deadly are delays in treatment and lack of access tothe most effective drugs, problems encountered by some uninsured cancerpatients in the U.S. but by a far larger proportion of cancer patientsin the [United Kingdom] and Europe."

ACS "should continue itslife-saving messages about prevention and screening instead ofswitching to a political agenda," McCaughey writes. She concludes, "Thegoal should be to ensure that all cancer patients receive the timelycare our current system provides, not to radically overhaul the system"(Wall Street Journal, 9/14).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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