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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Workers’ Compensation and the Cancer Moonshot 2020

Official portrait of Vice President of the United States . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
An exciting initiative, Cancer Moonshot 2020, is under underway establishing a coalition, of academics and insurers to work together to find a cure for cancer by the year 2020. Historically too many occupational exposures have resulted in the development of cancer. Participation by the entire workers’ compensation system in this new venture would create an exciting opportunity to advance worker health, reduce costs and strengthen the social remedial benefit program.
“A billionaire entrepreneur has pulled together a coalition of drugmakers to speed development of what researchers believe could be a powerful weapon against cancers -- potent combinations of new drugs that harness the body’s immune system.”Read more: A Billionaire's Cancer Moonshot
“I believe we need a moon shot in this country to cure cancer. It’s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine, the things that are just about to happen, and we can make them real, with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today. And I’m going to spend the next 15 months in this office pushing as hard as I can to accomplish this, because I know there are Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who share our passion—our passion to silence this deadly disease.” Vice President Joe BidenRead more: Biden’s Bid for a Legacy: A Moon Shot for Cancer
"Last year, Vice President Biden said that with a new moonshot,America can cure cancer. Last month, he worked with this Congress to give scientists at the National Institutes of Health the strongest resources that they’ve had in over a decade. (Applause.) So tonight, I’m announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he’s gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, I’m putting Joe in charge of Mission Control. (Applause.) For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the families that we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all. (Applause.)
Medical research is critical. We need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources. (Applause.) Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You will be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it. (Applause.) "President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address 2016
While the US workers’ compensation has been mired in controversy and delay, this new opportunity, Cancer Moonshot 2020 would be an initiative to move forward and reinvent itself. It would  advance worker safety; achieve a better medical delivery system and reduce costs in the long run. 

Workers’ compensation programs will require both legislative and procedural changes to participate effectively and share "big data" concerning outcomes in this challenging endeavor. It is only through adaptation and change can the social benefit program itself can survive. Hopefully, Cancer Moonshot 2020, will provide a healthy opportunity for renewal and regeneration.

Jon L. Gelman of Wayne NJ is the author of NJ Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters) and co-author of the national treatise, Modern Workers’ Compensation Law (West-Thompson-Reuters). For over 4 decades the Law Offices of Jon L Gelman  1.973.696.7900  have been representing injured workers and their families who have suffered occupational accidents and illnesses.