Policy Priorities at ZERO
Key Issues for Patients and Families
ZERO fights on behalf men and their families to ensure that the government directs resources to prostate cancer that further our mission and does not implement policies that hinder the Journey to Generation ZERO, the first generation free from prostate cancer.
ZERO’s policy priorities are:
Protecting and growing research funding
- We urge Congress to maintain funding for the PCRP at $90M (equivalent to the House-passed FY2017 level) in the FY2018 DoD appropriations bill. ZERO has prevented a cut to the PCRP in four out of the last six years. Additionally, for the last eleven years, Congress has appropriated $80 million to the PCRP. However, in the FY2017 appropriations process, the House passed an appropriations bill increasing the PCRP's funding to $90M. Unfortunately, the House and Senate ultimately passed a Continuing Resolution, freezing the funding level until April 2017. The flat funding means that research funding has not kept up with inflation.
- We urge Congress to support prostate cancer prevention and education funding. The President’s FY2017 budget request eliminates funding within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) comprehensive cancer control program for prostate cancer activities. This funding supports the development and dissemination of content to help patients and providers have a better-informed discussion about treatment options. It also provides needed funding for important surveillance activities that help providers, epidemiologists, and researchers better understand the disease, its incidence, and progression. The Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bills have maintained funding for CDC prostate cancer activities in the last two years, and we hope that support for the CDC will continue.
Support robust coverage for cancer screening and treatment
- As Congress considers legislation to replace the Affordable Care Act, cancer patients must be assured that screening for prostate cancer is neither cost prohibitive, nor limited by government panels. Decisions about treatment should be made between a man and his doctor. Insurance options, whether through government or private sector plans, must have clear requirements for coverage of cancer care and treatment that ensure that men with prostate cancer are diagnosed early and treated effectively – bringing down overall medical costs and saving lives.
Advocating for early detection methods, recommendations, and coverage
- We urge Member of Congress to cosponsor H.R. 539, the USPSTF Transparency and Accountability Act of 2017 introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Bobby Rush (D-IL). The bill would make significant changes to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), and the process the Task Force uses to make formal recommendations regarding preventive care services. It requires the involvement of specialists and stakeholders in the recommendation process, in addition to public comment periods on draft recommendations. The bill also trikes the language added by the Affordable Care Act that directly ties Medicare coverage of preventive services to the USPSTF gradings.
On April 11, 2017, the USPSTF released their draft recommendation for the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening, upgrading their recommendation from a "D" grade to a "C" grade. The “C” grade, while an improvement on their previous recommendations, it is still not sufficient because it means that insurance companies: 1) Do not have to cover the PSA-test and 2) Can make patients pay for all or some of the screening even if the insurance company does cover the test.
Encouraging coordination among federal agencies
- To ensure best use of scarce federal dollars, aggressive pursuit of promising science, and coordination to support a wide range of priority research areas, ZERO advocates for the NCI to convene regular, public meetings of a prostate cancer research coordinating committee.
Raising education and awareness about prostate cancer issues at the federal, state, and local levels
- ZERO’s origins stem from grassroots advocacy efforts to secure federal funding for prostate cancer research. Each year during our Prostate Cancer Summit, passionate advocates like you descend on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC to continue fighting for policies that will end prostate cancer.
- We want to empower you to be an effective advocate in your local community, your state, and at the federal level. To that end, ZERO provides its advocates with support and resources.
Through effective advocacy, we can influence the formation of achievable government policy and encourage elected officials to support our priorities. The constituent voice is a powerful one!