Americans favor a tax increase to support the 'moonshot' cancer initiative

February 1, 2016

Vice President Joe Biden's 'moonshot' initiative to defeat cancer earns support for a tax increase to fund cancer research among half of respondents (50%) in a new national public opinion survey commissioned by Research!America. Thirty-eight percent disagree and an additional 12% are not sure. A significant majority of Democrats (67%), and more than a third of Republicans (38%) and Independents (39%) support a tax increase, and support is particularly strong among Americans ages 18 - 49.

Of those who favor a , more than half (57%) say they are willing to pay up to $50 per year in taxes (60% of Republicans, 58% of Independents and 54% of Democrats) and 28% are willing to pay even more. This finding applies across all age groups.

"Americans understand that we must turbo-charge our investments in research in order to make significant headway in our battle against this insidious disease," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America. "Our new survey finding illustrates that individuals across the political spectrum view the 'moonshot' initiative as an all hands on deck endeavor that is worthy of taxpayer support."

A White House Task Force on cancer, led by Vice President Biden, will coordinate federal efforts, make recommendations on how to expand clinical trials, improve data, identify unnecessary regulatory burdens, and explore public-private partnerships to accelerate the pace of . The group will also 'ensure the optimal investment of federal resources' for the initiative, according to a White House memo.

The Task Force aims to double the rate of progress in the fight against cancer and mark achievements within five years as opposed to a decade or more. Experts say the initiative must improve ways to collect, harness and leverage big data to bring us closer to cures. Nearly six-in-ten Americans (59%) say they are willing to share their personal health information to advance medical research.

Americans care deeply about advancing research for health across all diseases. The U.S. spends about five cents of each health dollar on research to prevent, cure and treat disease and disability. A majority of Americans (56%) say that is not enough, the new survey shows. In addition, 78% say Congress should make health promotion and disease prevention research a high priority.

An overwhelmingly majority of Americans (85%) say it is important for candidates running for national office to assign a high priority to increasing funding for medical research. "With significant advances in immunotherapy and genomics, it is incumbent upon candidates and elected officials to tell potential voters whether they support increased funding for research to find cures for cancer and other diseases," Woolley added. "It's time to put research to work to find solutions and cure what ails us; we call on all policymakers and those who aspire to be, to speak out for and act to make research for health a number one national priority. We urge President Obama to include sufficient funds to support the 'moonshot' initiative in his FY17 budget proposal."

Explore further: Obama creates new cancer task force, blessing Biden's effort

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