Hawaii Making Progress on Cancer-Fighting Public Policies
Hawaii Lawmakers Have Opportunities to Save Lives and Money
News Release from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Honolulu, Hawaii – August 6, 2015 – Hawaii is making progress when it comes to supporting policies and passing legislation to prevent and reduce suffering and death from cancer. According to the latest edition of How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, Hawaii measured up to policy recommendations in five of the nine issue areas ranked. The report was released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).
“We’ve made tremendous progress in the way we diagnose and treat cancer across the country. But to leverage this progress, Hawaii legislators must take advantage of the opportunities to pass evidence-based laws and policies that are proven to save lives and money,” said Cory Chun, Hawaii Pacific government relations director for ACS CAN. “In Hawaii alone in 2015, 6,730 people will be diagnosed with cancer and 2,470 will die from it. We can’t wait to take action when the stakes are that high. This report outlines ways lawmakers can make a difference by emphasizing cancer prevention, curbing tobacco use and prioritizing quality of life for patients and their families.”
How Do You Measure Up? rates states in nine specific areas of public policy that can help fight cancer, including smoke-free laws, tobacco tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs and cessation coverage under Medicaid, funding for cancer screening programs and restricting indoor tanning devices for minors. The report also looks at whether or not a state has said yes to federal funds available to increase access to care through its Medicaid program, has passed policies proven to increase patient quality of life and offers a well-balanced approach to pain medications.
Additionally, the report offers a blueprint for states to effectively implement provisions of the health care law in a way that benefits cancer patients and their families, and discusses the negative financial impact if Hawaii fails to take action on cancer-fighting policy. Additionally, How Do You Measure Up? highlights other policies proven to prevent diseases like cancer including recommended requirements for physical education and physical activity in schools. Passing and implementing the policy recommendations in the report would not only save lives in Hawaii, but also save millions in long-term health care costs and in some cases would even generate additional, much-needed revenue.
A color-coded system classifies how well a state is doing in each issue. Green shows that a state has adopted evidence-based policies and best practices; yellow indicates moderate movement toward the benchmark and red shows where states are falling short.
How Hawaii Measures Up:
- Cigarette Tax Rates Green
- Smoke-free Laws Green
- Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding Green
- Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services Red
- Indoor Tanning Device Restrictions Green
- Increased Access to Medicaid Green
- Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Funding No Funding
- Access to Palliative Care Red
- Pain Policy Yellow
Hawaii has long be a leader in passing effective tobacco control policies – passing frequent, significant tobacco tax increases, implementing a comprehensive smoke-free workplace law that will include electronic smoking devices beginning Jan. 1, 2016, continuing to fund the statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and this year became the first state in the nation to pass legislation to raise the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products from 18 to 21.
“As advocates, we’ve worked hard to educate Hawaii residents about ways to prevent and treat cancer, but our voice is not enough if state and local policymakers don’t take action to fund and implement state policies and programs that are proven to save lives,” said Chun.
Nationally, the report finds that only three states meet six out of the nine benchmarks measured. While 25 states and the District of Columbia are making progress in enacting and strengthening policies that fight cancer, unfortunately the remaining 25 states are falling short and no state meets seven or more benchmarks. No state received a green rating in more than six categories measure.
To view the complete report and details on Hawaii’s grades, visit www.acscan.org.
PDF: How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality