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President Joe Biden, whose son died of brain cancer, will call on Congress to pass legislation to overhaul cancer research and care delivery systems as part of his State of the Union address Tuesday.
Biden will ask lawmakers to help create a new clinical trial network and “new data systems that break down silos,” officials told reporters Tuesday. He will also ask them to expand insurance benefits to include services that help guide people through a cancer diagnosis and treatment plan.
Reauthorizing the National Cancer Act, which 52 years ago created the nation’s leading federal cancer research institute, will be central to Biden’s plan. That could give lawmakers a vehicle for sweeping health reforms this Congress.
“We think it’s time for another bipartisan effort to come together and realize a 21st Century cancer system with clinical trial networks that reach every community so we can share knowledge and make progress faster,” Danielle Carnival, the White House’s Cancer Moonshot coordinator, told reporters on a briefing call.
The push is the next step in Biden’s plan to halve cancer deaths in the US in the next 25 years, part of a second iteration of the Cancer Moonshot, one of the signature efforts during the Obama administration to double the rate of progress in cancer prevention, treatment, and detection.
Lawmakers pressed for progress on this effort last Congress, but couldn’t reach a bipartisan agreement. The National Institutes of Health, the nation’s main federal research agency, still doesn’t have a permanent leader after its longtime director retired at the end of 2021.
The White House also wants to extend “lock in” cancer research money, which lawmakers provided through seven years of mandatory funding in the 21st Century Cures Act (Public Law 114-146) that expires Sept. 30, Carnival said.
“With these steps, we could put modern and American innovation fully to work in the fight against cancer,” she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Ruoff in Washington at email@example.com