Report: Idaho Falling Short in Cancer-Fighting Policies 

click to enlarge KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
A new analysis of American states and public policies that help fight cancer gives Idaho low marks. The report, released this morning by the Cancer Action Network of the American Cancer Society says the Gem State "didn't measure up" to any of the policy recommendations in a number of areas, including funding for cancer screening programs, smoke-free laws, cigarette tax levels, funding for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and access to care through Medicaid.

Luke Cavener, government relations director for ACS CAN, points to the current effort to expand Medicaid coverage which will be put before Idaho voters in this November's general election as a step in the right direction.

"One critical area where voters have the power to make a difference for Idahoans immediately is passing Proposition 2 to expand Medicaid,” said Cavener. “This year alone in Idaho, 8,450 people will be diagnosed with cancer and more than 3,000 will die from the devastating disease. We owe it to them and everyone at risk of developing the disease to do what we know works to prevent cancer and improve access to screenings and treatment.”

The report, titled the "How Do You Measure Up?," color-coded how well Idaho is doing in each issue. Green indicates best practices, yellow indicates moderate movement and red indicates where the state is falling short:
  • Increased Access to Medicaid: RED
  • Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Funding: RED
  • Access to Palliative Care: RED
  • Pain Policy: YELLOW
  • Cigarette Tax Rates: RED
  • Smoke-free Laws: YELLOW
  • Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding: RED
  • Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services: YELLOW
  • Indoor Tanning: RED
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