The NCCN 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care convened during a week when Congress was expected to vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the Republican-sponsored replacement plan for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ultimately, however, House Republicans pulled the AHCA from a vote, leaving the future of the ACA unclear. The timing of this rendered even more relevance to the topic of an NCCN Roundtable: “Emerging Issues in Oncology—Addressing Health Disparities in Cancer Care From Diagnosis to Survivorship.” Panelists from a variety of disciplines brought professional and personal experiences to the discussion. All agreed that despite recent advances in cancer care, health disparities still exist and could even deepen.
Moderator Clifford Goodman, PhD, Senior Vice President of The Lewin Group, kicked off the roundtable by expressing concerns. “I'm worried about healthcare disparities in America,” he said. “I'm worried that we are perhaps on the cusp of things, if not getting worse, adding risk to the system. Today, decisions could be made on [Capitol] Hill that could put already disadvantaged populations at greater risk. It's important to have a nationally recognized panel of experts…to address these issues…These messages we are hearing today come with great credibility.”