As the race between Democratic candidates vying for the party’s presidential nomination heats up, the Biden Cancer Initiative, a nonprofit started by former vice president Joe Biden to advocate and support the development of cancer treatments, is suspending operations indefinitely.
The organization grew out of the White House Cancer Moonshot program created by President Barack Obama and led by Vice President Joe Biden. Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 after a battle with brain cancer.
In a statement, Biden Cancer Initiative President Greg Simon said the “unique circumstances” around Biden’s presidential run led to decision.
“We remain personally committed to the cause, but at this time will have to pause efforts. We thank the community for their incredible response to our mission to improve the cancer journey for patients and to improve outcomes for all patients for generations to come,” Simon said.
Biden is considered the current front runner for the Democratic nomination and reports have probed the organization’s close ties to existing healthcare industry partners as a potential conflict of interest in the his efforts to reform the nation’s healthcare system.
Both Joe and Jill Biden stepped down from the organization’s board of directors when the former vice president launched his presidential campaign earlier this year.
Simon told the Associated Press that the departure of the Bidens made it difficult to sign up new partners and follow through on the group’s priorities.
The announcement about the suspension of the organization’s activities came as the candidate announced his own healthcare policy proposals, which seeks to build on existing provisions in the Affordable Care Act, while opening up a new public option for coverage.
“I understand the appeal of Medicare-for-All,” Biden said in a video announcement. “But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare. And I’m not for that.”
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