New Study: Nebraska falls short on quality of life policies

Wesley Wilson / MGN
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LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska has work to do 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, Nebraska measured up to policy recommendations in just two of the 10 issue areas ranked.

The report was released today by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

“Nebraska’s legislators must take care of Nebraskans with cancer and help curb tobacco use by increasing the taxes levied against it,” said Dave Holmquist, ACS CAN Government Relations Director. “We’re disappointed that access to palliative care has not improved. Together, we need to continue working on that access and increasing the tobacco tax so that fewer Nebraskans will start to use it or will be persuaded to quit.”

Additionally, the report offers a blueprint for effectively implementing provisions of the health care law to benefit cancer patients and their families, and discusses the negative financial impact if Nebraska fails to take action. The policy recommendations would not only save lives in Nebraska, 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 fall short.

How Nebraska Measures Up:

Cigarette Tax Rates Red

Smoke-free Laws Green

Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program Funding Red

Medicaid Coverage of Tobacco Cessation Services Yellow

Indoor Tanning Device Use Restrictions Red

Increased Access to Medicaid Red

Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Funding Red

Access to Palliative Care Yellow

Pain Policy Yellow

Oral Chemotherapy Parity Green

Only four states meet six out of the 10 benchmarks. Maine and Massachusetts meet seven out of the 10 benchmarks. Oral chemotherapy fairness legislation is the most met benchmark with 42 states and the District of Columbia considered “doing well.” View the complete report and details on Nebraska’ grades at www.acscan.org.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit www.acscan.org.

Read the original version of this article at www.1011now.com.