On Wednesday, March 27, Cleveland.com featured an op-ed by Arati Prabhakar, the President’s chief advisor on science and technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), with a focus on new actions by the Biden Cancer Moonshot to make cancer navigation services accessible to more than 150 million Americans. Earlier this month, the Biden Cancer Moonshot announced new commitments from seven leading health insurance companies expanding access to navigation services to help patients and their families navigate health care treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses. The op-ed comes after Director Prabhakar visited Cleveland’s University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, one of40 comprehensive cancer centers and community oncology practices nationwide that have committed to using the new navigation codes to deliver effective patient navigation to people facing cancer. 

Read more below:

Cleveland.com: ‘Moonshot’ against cancer aims to help Americans navigate cancer diagnosis to a better outcome: Arati Prabhakar

It’s a moment that millions of Americans experience each year: A doctor says the “C” word, and your world feels like it’s spinning apart. When you get a cancer diagnosis, you have to confront so many questions. Do I need another test? Which treatment is best, and where will I get it? How will I juggle work and kids and even transportation? What do I say to my family?

President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden know that cancer touches virtually every American family, which is why ending cancer as we know it is part of the President’s Unity Agenda. The Biden Cancer Moonshot has set ambitious goals to cut the cancer death rate in half by 2047 — preventing more than four million cancer deaths — and to change the experience of patients, families, and caregivers.

Part of that commitment is to expand cancer navigation services to more Americans. Navigators help sort out every step on the cancer journey with patients and their loved ones. A cancer navigator sits down with a new patient and starts by listening to all the questions ringing in their head. And then they help think through which test comes next, how the patient can get to the next treatment, how to deal with missing work, and even how to break the news to the kids.

Recently, I met with an Ohio resident named Scott who had been diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer. Scott said “the sky stopped falling” the minute he connected with a cancer navigator. Scott emphasized how his navigator helped him understand the choices he faced, and helped alleviate the emotional toll of a cancer diagnosis. Now, these same services will be available and covered for millions of Ohioans living with cancer.

This was made possible because the Biden Cancer Moonshot established insurance codes so practices have a way to bill for these critical services. Then, the Moonshot worked with providers and insurers to make sure they use the new codes to provide navigation services and cover them. Now, Medicare and seven leading health insurers will cover these navigation services. And more than 40 cancer centers and community oncology practices have also committed to using new navigation codes to provide patient navigation services to people across the country. In total, 150 million Americans now can access navigation services if that need arises in their lives.

Until President Biden and Dr. Biden prioritized increasing these services by establishing a reimbursement pathway, Medicare and private health plans largely did not pay for navigation, leaving this service out of reach for many people. University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center in Cleveland; St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Youngstown; Aetna; Elevance Health; Health Alliance Plan; Humana; Priority Health; Select Health; and Medicare — these providers and insurers and more have now stepped up get navigation services to patients.

Having a navigator by your side brings a measure of calm in a most difficult time. And research shows that navigators also change how the cancer journey turns out. With navigation help, patients are able to get into treatment more quickly, and they are more likely to be able to complete their course of treatment — improving long-term outcomes. These services also lower health care costs by reducing emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

The experience of too many Americans facing cancer is one of fear. President Biden and the Cancer Moonshot are building a future where that fear is replaced by hope. That’s why he’s also investing in breakthrough treatments and technologies to transform cancer care. It’s why he’s working with the private sector to expand and accelerate cancer screening. And it’s why he’s expanding resources for those who want to stop smoking.

Together we can do big things — and end cancer as we know it.


Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top