Campaign Promises

Departments -> Health & Human Services -> Cancer/Cancer Research

ItemHealth & Human Services
Cancer/Cancer ResearchGrade
HE-4 The Promise: "Will double federal funding for cancer research within 5 years."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer, 09/06/08.
Status:While several federal entities were involved in cancer research other than the National Institutes of Health (NIH) such as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Veterans Administration (VA) and others, the principal recipient of federal funding for cancer research during the five-year period articulated in this promise was the NIH's National Cancer Institute (NCI).

For FY2009, the NIC was appropriated $4.964B for cancer research by Congress. This was the amount to "double."

For subsequent years during the five-year period addressed in this promise, the NIC was appropriated the following amounts:

This promise was not fulfilled.
HE-5 The Promise: "...will immediately direct his Secretary of Health and Human comprehensively examine the various cancer-related efforts of federal agencies, and provide recommendations to eliminate barriers to effective coordination across federal agencies and between the federal government and other stakeholders."
When/Where: The Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer, dated 09/06/08.
Status:On 12/14/10, President Obama's Cancer Panel published a memorandum documenting its recommendation that the President should create a task force led by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), in collaboration with agency officials, academic researchers, and patient advocates to comprehensively examine the various cancer-related efforts of federal agencies and the silos that exist among and between them.

On 01/28/16, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing a "Cancer Moonshot Task Force," to be headed by Vice President Biden, bringing together federal agencies that have a direct or indirect role in cancer research. Federal organizations represented in this task force included: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Food and Drug Administration (FDA); Department of Defense(DOD); National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); National Institutes of Health (NIH); National Science Foundation (NSF); White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); National Cancer Institute (NCI); Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Department of Veterans Affairs (VA); Department of Energy (DOE); White House Domestic Policy Council; Department of Commerce (DOC); Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS); Department of Agriculture (DOA); and the White House National Economic Council.

The "Cancer Moonshot Task Force" was tasked to ensure that the Federal Government made the most of its cancer-related investments, research and data, computing capabilities, targeted incentives, private-sector efforts, and patient-engagement initiatives.

This promise was fulfilled.
HE-6 The Promise: "Will provide the CDC $50 million in new funding to determine the most effective approaches that assist not only navigation of cancer patients through diagnosis and treatment processes, but also provide easy-to-understand information on the necessary follow-up steps to ensure continued lifelong health."
When/Where: The Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer, dated 09/06/08.
Status:The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) FY2009 budget for cancer prevention and control was $340M.

During subsequent years, cancer prevention and control was funded as follows:
FY2010....$370M (+$30M)
FY2011....$325M (-$45M)
FY2012....$371M (+$46M)
FY2013....$337M (-$34M)
FY2014....$350M (+$13M)
FY2015....$352M (+$2M)
FY2016....$356M (+$4M)
FY2017....$355M (-$1M)

Over President Obama's two terms in office, no "new funding" amounting to $50M was provided to the CDC for cancer prevention and control. Despite the ups and downs experienced in funding over those years, the CDC received a net gain of $15M over the FY2009 start point of $340M, as of President Obama's last budget in FY2017.

This promise was not fulfilled.
HE-7 The Promise: "...will seek to increase participation in clinical trials to 10 percent of adult cancer patients by requiring coverage of patient clinical trial costs..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer, 09/06/08.
Status:The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed into law by President Obama on 03/23/10 includes regulations regarding insurance coverage of clinical trials. Specifically, the ACA states that health plans or insurers cannot:
- Keep patients from joining a clinical trial.
- Limit or deny coverage of routine costs to patients who join an approved clinical trial.
- Increase costs because a patient joins a clinical trial.

As to participation in clinical trials, according to a Lancet Oncology Journal study published in 02/06, two of the main barriers to patient participation in clinical trials were (1) concern that joining a trial might reduce the patient's quality of life and (2) that the patient might receive a placebo instead of real medication to combat the cancer the patient is experiencing. The National Cancer Institute estimated in 07/09 that less than 5% of adults diagnosed with cancer each year would participate in clinical trials.

A CY2016 report issued by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) stated the following: "...assembling and analyzing data from millions of electronic health records...will allow us to learn from every individual treated for cancer - not just the fewer than 5% of patients who currently participate in clinical trials."

This promise was not fulfilled.