VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES
HISTORIC CANCER INITIATIVE
January 29, 1998
We've won a great many battles, but we know we can't stop until
we win the war. That is why, even as we are balancing the
budget and making tough cuts across the board, we must invest
more in the war against cancer. We must give America's families
new hope for a healthy future.
Vice President Gore, January 29, 1998
Today, Vice President Gore announced a historic initiative to step
up the battle against cancer. Building on the Administration's support
for legislation to prevent genetic discrimination by health insurers
and employers, the President's new cancer initiative includes:
A historic $4.7 billion increase in spending in cancer research
at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a 65% increase over the
next five years; and
A groundbreaking initiative that explicitly provides coverage of
cancer clinical trials for Medicare beneficiaries.
More than 40 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer
during their lifetime and more than 20 percent will die from it. While
scientists have made important strides in cancer, particularly in
childhood cancers, experts believe that we are at the cusp of important
new breakthroughs in the war against cancer that merit or justify a
much greater investment in research that could lead to help better
diagnose, prevent, treat, and potentially cure cancer.
Less than three percent of cancer patients participate in clinical
trials. Americans over the age of 65 make up half of all cancer
patients, and are 10 times more likely to get cancer than younger
Americans. Many scientists believe that higher participation in
clinical trials could lead to faster development of therapies for more
of those in need, as it often takes between 3 and 5 years to enroll
enough participants in a cancer clinical trial to make the results
scientifically legitimate and statistically meaningful. Furthermore,
older Americans frequently cannot participate in cutting edge cancer
clinical trials because Medicare does not pay for such treatments until
they are established as standard therapies.
Historic Increases in Cancer Research at the National Institutes of
Health. The Vice President announced a 65 percent increase in funding
for cancer research at the NIH over the next five years. This is part
of the President's proposal for an unprecedented $1.15 billion increase
at the NIH in FY1999 and a nearly 50 percent increase over the next
Unprecedented new investment of $4.7 billion in cancer research
over five years. In 1999 alone, the Administration is proposing a 10
percent increase in cancer research and by 2003, the NIH will spend
$4.8 billion on cancer research. A significant and new increase in
research has great potential to improve early detection and diagnoses
of cancer; speed the discovery and development of new cancer drugs and
devices; dramatically increase adult participation in clinical trials;
and provide all cancer patients and their care givers with easy access
to the latest information on treating their disease.
Investment will support cancer research throughout the NIH.
Almost 90 percent of the cancer research money will be supported at the
National Cancer Institute, but the initiative will also involve new and
enhanced activities in at least twelve other Institutes of the NIH,
such as the Human Genome Project.
Coverage of Cancer Clinical Trials for Medicare Beneficiaries. The
Vice President also announced that, for the first time, Medicare
beneficiaries would be able to have the patient care costs associated
with cancer clinical trials explicitly covered through a new
demonstration. This would give Medicare beneficiaries access to
cutting-edge treatments and encourage higher participation in clinical
Gives Medicare beneficiaries access to cancer clinical trials.
The Administration's proposal would establish a three-year
demonstration program for Medicare beneficiaries, to cover the patient
care costs for those who participate in certain federally-sponsored
cancer clinical trials. The proposal is based on NIH-sponsored
clinical trials but will allow for determination of the eligibility of
an alternative set of trials by the Secretary of Health and Human
Services within the same funding constraints, with the advice of the
Institute of Medicine's National Cancer Policy Board. The President's
budget would establish a three-year demonstration program, specifically
for Medicare beneficiaries, to cover the patient care costs for those
who participate in NIH-sponsored cancer clinical trials.
Administered through HCFA for Medicare beneficiaries, but has no
impact on the Medicare Trust Fund. The demonstration would be
administered by the Health Care Financing Administration, which
administers Medicare, but would be funded by $750 million in receipts
from tobacco legislation. It would therefore have no effect the
financial condition on the Medicare Trust Fund. The proposal includes
a review and evaluation of the demonstration by the Secretary of Health
and Human Services, in consultation with the Institute of Medicine's
National Cancer Policy Board, to consider whether to extend and/or
expand the demonstration, no later than 30 months after enactment.
Builds on the bipartisan legislation in the Congress. Senator
Mack and Senator Rockefeller and Representative Nancy Johnson have
taking leadership in this area by proposing similar legislation that
would provide cancer clinical trial coverage for Medicare beneficiaries.
The Administration looks forward to working closely with these leaders,
as well as other Members of Congress, on this important issue.