Polk County Advanced Practice Nurses Association
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Legislative Update Week 6

Posted over 5 years ago by Michelle Rampersad

2013 Legislative Session

Week 6 Update
Friday, April 12, 2013

Week six of the 2013 Legislative Session has come to a close and many of the year’s biggest policy issues have yet to be resolved. On Thursday, the Florida House released its Medicaid expansion alternative - a plan that would not access any of the federal dollars provided for in the Affordable Care Act. The proposal, entitled “Florida Health Choices Plus,” would cover an estimated 115,000 Floridians at a cost to the state of $237 million annually. With access to quality, affordable health care a major issue for our state’s cancer patient population, ACS CAN staff will continue to monitor the various proposals from both chambers as they move through the legislative process. Our three priority issues for this year include: 
 
BREAST CANCER SCREENING - ACTIVELY SUPPORT state funding for the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program for medically underserved women, at a level equal to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s program investment in Florida. Our request for the 2013 session is $2.4 million in state funding - building upon the first ever state appropriation for screening within that program last session. The current Senate and House budget proposals do not contain this allocation. We will work diligently to ensure funding for this critical program is restored during the budget conference process.

BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH - ACTIVELY SUPPORT measures that will increase Florida’s capacity for research and treatment, including clinical trials, especially measures that generate a substantial state investment in Florida’s research infrastructure. ACTIVELY SUPPORT Fiscal Year 2013-14 funding of the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program ($7.2 million) and the Bankhead-Coley Cancer Research Program ($5 million) as prescribed in law, with a peer-reviewed and competitive grant process being the basis for program funding allocations. Proposals out of both chambers depict increases in biomedical research funding, but they direct the dollars in very different ways. The Senate has maintained the funding for both King and Bankhead-Coley and provided additional dollars directly to the major cancer centers in the state. The House brings the funding for both programs to a total of $10 million each and provides additional funding to the individual institutions. 

TOBACCO PREVENTION AND EDUCATION - ACTIVELY SUPPORT the continued, full implementation of Article X, Section 27 of the Florida Constitution, as intended by the voters, funding the program at $65.6 million for FY 2013-14. Both chambers appear to be on target for this level of funding.
 
The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act, HB 301 by Rep. Debbie Mayfield (R - Vero Beach), has just one more committee stop before reaching the House floor. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Health & Human Services Committee on Tuesday. SB 422, by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto (R - Ft. Myers), passed unanimously out of the Senate last week.

LIGHTS OF HOPE – A reminder that time is running out to purchase your Light of Hope for our April 22nd display at the Capitol. Please show your support for our legislative priorities by sending a Light of Hope to Tallahassee in honor or in memory of someone you love. For a $10 donation, your Light of Hope bag will be displayed on the Capitol steps as a reminder to all about the importance of making cancer a top priority this session. For more information, please go to: www.acscan.org/floridalightsofhope

As always, updated information on ACS CAN’s legislative priorities can be found at www.acscan.org/florida and you can get real-time updates on Twitter. Follow us at https://twitter.com/ACSCAN_Florida.

Yours in the Fight,
Heather

Heather Wildermuth 
Director of Government Relations
ACS CAN, Florida Division