Wasserman Schultz, Florida Leaders Participate in Policy Forum on Cancer Costs

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DAVIE, Fla. — More than 75 people attended today’s Florida Policy Forum on the cost of cancer hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).  The event, which featured U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, brought together policy experts, patients and leaders from the cancer community to explore possible solutions for making cancer treatment more affordable for patients and survivors.

ACS CAN released a report last year examining the expected costs of treating cancer.  It found the U.S. cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion in out-of-pocket expenses in 2014 and the disease cost the country $87.8 billion in cancer-related health care spending. Access to quality health insurance is deemed essential to making cancer care affordable.

For cancer patients and their loved ones, the financial hardships related to treating the disease are enormous,” said Heather Youmans, ACS CAN’s senior government relations director in Florida. “Events like this one, allow us to examine the facts and identify ways we can help patients, survivors and families beat this disease without creating financial hardship.  Nobody should have to go bankrupt to fight cancer.”

Key findings from the ACS CAN report include:

  • A lower-premium health plan may not actually save cancer patients in the long run.  Such plans often have high-cost sharing and cancer patients are high utilizers of care;
  • Even with insurance, cancer patients often face unpredictable or unmanageable costs including high co-insurance, high deductibles having to seek out-of-network care and needing a treatment that is not covered by their plan; and,
  • Limits on out-of-pocket costs significantly lowered patient expenses in two of the three insurance scenarios detailed in the report.

Approximately 135,170 Floridians are projected to be diagnosed with cancer this year and 45,030 will die from the disease.  Additionally, there are approximately 1.3 million cancer survivors living in the state currently.


ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.

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