Feinstein Proposes Five-Year, $14 Billion Bill to Increase Cancer Research, Improve Treatment
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) yesterday proposed a five-year, $14 billion bill to "wipe cancer off the face of the Earth," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The legislation would increase grants for cancer research, encourage more biomedical researchers to develop cancer treatments, expedite clinical trials for cancer treatments and expand tax and marketing incentives for companies that develop cancer drugs. In addition, the bill would provide cancer patients with a "cancer quarterback" -- a physician who would manage their cancer-related care. In the first year, the bill would add $1.4 billion to the $4.7 billion budget of the National Cancer Institute. President Bush has proposed a $500 million budget increase for the NCI in fiscal year 2003. The legislation would use revenue from a national five-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase that took effect Jan. 1, which analysts predict will generate $8 million per year, to fund the $1.4 million increase. In addition, the bill would establish a $190.5 million program to cover the cost of annual loans for 100 doctors and 1,000 postdoctoral researchers who agree to spend three years on cancer research (Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/28). The 12 other women in the Senate and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said that they support the legislation (AP/Ventura County Star, 2/28). However, the bill "sets up some potential political conflicts," the Fresno Bee reports. The legislation includes provisions that, for the first time, would allow the FDA to regulate the content and marketing of tobacco products (Doyle, Fresno Bee, 2/28). Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), who co-sponsored the bill, said, "We know this is going to cost money, and we're well aware that our budget situation is rather challenging. But there isn't a more important domestic need" (San Francisco Chronicle, 2/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.