Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum: National Cancer Policy and the 2008 Presidential Race

Jeannette Vagnozzi Health Guide
  • Bringing the importance of a national cancer policy to the forefront of the 2008 presidential race, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is hosting the first ever Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum. The cancer forum, which takes place today and tomorrow, not only allows the voters to understand the candidates' position on national cancer policy and national health care in general, it also highlights the significant voting power of the 10,000,000 cancer survivors in the United States.


    With a margin of just 3,000,000 votes in the 2004 presidential election, and an even closer 2000 election, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is opening the door for a united voice of cancer survivors to be heard in potentially the most powerful way in history.

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    With an increasing number of political forums, why is it so important to have yet another forum focused on just one issue? Here are a few points to consider:


    • According to the American Cancer Society, one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
    • Health care is a significantly political issue. Everything from the majority of research to pharmaceutical drug approval is government funded.
    • Cancer survival outcomes are ethnically and racially disparate and often linked to a lack of accessible health care.
    • More than 45 million Americans do not have health insurance.
    • According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 51% of Americans are dissatisfied with their health care.
    • The United States spends more money per capita on health care than other developed nations; however, the survival outcomes are often better in other countries.


    Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and Dennis Kucinich square off on Monday August 27th. Republicans Sam Brownback and Mike Huckabee face off Tuesday, August 28th. Breast Cancer advocate Tommy Thompson was also scheduled to appear; however, he has since withdrawn from the presidential race. Both events will air at 10:00 CST on MSNBC. Before you get your scorecards ready, here is brief overview of each participant and their current position on health care in the US.


    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton -- Former First Lady and the current Senator from New York, Clinton includes affordable and accessible health care among her top ten campaign issues. As the premiere First Lady to be involved with policy issues, Senator Clinton is a long time supporter of quality health care initiatives. Her current health care agenda includes proposals that target reducing costs, reducing ethnic and racial disparities, focusing on quality care, and empowering providers ad patients to improve service delivery.


    John Edwards - Former Senator from North Carolina and nominee for Vice President in 2004, John Edwards is no stranger to cancer as he and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, continue to fight a very public battle with metastatic breast cancer. Founder of the One America Committee, Edwards also considers health care among his top ten campaign issues. Lauded as proposing the most comprehensive plan for health care, Edwards' plan for universal health care will take on insurance companies, cover every man, woman, and child, and provide better care at lower costs.


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    Bill Richardson - Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico also has political experience in the US House of Representatives, Ambassador to the United Nations, and US Secretary of Energy. Among his top campaign issues is Governor Richardson's universal health care plan that includes 100% coverage for all Americans, affordable care, savings of $110 billion through administrative streamlining and preventative care, and improved quality of care.


    Dennis Kucinich - Congressman Kucinich from Ohio has served in the House of Representatives in 1997. He is also a former mayor of Cleveland. Congressman Kucinich proposes a universal, single-payer, not-for-profit health care system. He claims that $350 billion spent on administration could be redirected to provide health care for all. He has co-sponsored HR 676, legislation that would establish Medicare for all that leaves no American behind.


    Sam Brownback - Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas also has political experience in the US House of Representatives, and as Kansas Secretary of Agriculture. Senator Brownback believes that socialized medicine has shown to deprive consumers of access to life saving treatment and is inconsistent with the spirit of the American people to be free of government intervention. His health care plan includes a consumer-centered, not government-centered, model that offers both affordable coverage choices and consumer control.


    Mike Huckabee - Former Governor of Arkansas and Baptist Minister, Huckabee is considered a strong social conservative. While governor, he created ARKids First, a health insurance program designed for children whose families could not qualify for Medicaid and could not afford insurance. While he agrees that our helath care system is broken, he does not believe universal care is the answer. Huckabee proposes preventative acre, encouraging the private sector to seek innovative ways to brings down medical costs, and moving from an employer-based to a consumer-based system.


    I am not sure a clear winner will emerge from this forum; however, the most important thing to remember is that while a strong proposal is important, it is not everything. The candidate that will ultimately be a champion for a national cancer policy is the leader who can earn the support of our legislators in the Senate and Congress so that the policy can be adopted and put into action. Be sure and come back let us know how you felt about the forum and the candidates.


    For more on Lance Armstrong's cancer forum, visit our special section:


    Livestrong Presidential Cancer Forum: Our Breast Cancer Community's Questions and Advice


    For additional information on the Presidential candidates, visit

Published On: August 27, 2007