Blair Horner Named Vice President for Advocacy

Blair Horner

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American Cancer Society Announces Appointment Of Blair Horner As Vice President For Advocacy; Horner’s First Day On May 2nd.

New York And New Jersey Needs To Place Establishment Of Health Exchanges As Top End-Of-Session Priority

Albany, NY (April 14, 2011) – The American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey today announced that long-time advocate Blair Horner will be its new Vice President for Advocacy. Horner will start on May 2, 2011.

The American Cancer Society’s advocacy efforts focus on policies designed to reduce cancer rates and to help those with cancer to get the treatment they need. One critical ACS goal is to ensure that cancer patients obtain health insurance, without which many cancer patients cannot survive.

"When you talk about change and reform in Albany, you talk about Blair Horner," said Donald Distasio, CEO of the American Cancer Society of NY & NJ. "Now that Blair has the opportunity to lead our vast network of volunteers and expand efforts in the rest of New York and into New Jersey, there's no limit to what we can accomplish. Blair will be a significant addition to the American Cancer Society and the fight against cancer."

“I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and tackling the most important health issues of the day,” said Horner. “A top priority of state policymakers must be the creation of health exchanges.” Health exchanges are established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The exchange is a marketplace where individuals and small groups can purchase insurance that includes essential health care benefits.

Starting on January 1, 2014, the exchange will provide access to quality health insurance coverage at reasonable prices. The American Cancer Society is urging state lawmakers to expedite the process and to ensure that the New York and New Jersey exchanges meet the needs of cancer patients.

“Moving both states along in the process to establish a health insurance exchange that provides affordable, quality health care coverage is our top priority,” added Distasio. “Development of an exchange is one of the most important provisions of the ACA because having access to the right health care coverage can mean the difference in surviving cancer.”

For nearly 30 years, Horner has been one of New York State’s leading advocates for consumer, public health and government reforms. No stranger to cancer issues, he has worked side-by-side with the American Cancer Society on the landmark smoke-free worksite law and other tobacco-related measures in New York. Except for one year, Horner has worked with New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) since 1979 and currently is its legislative director. From February 2007 to March 2008, Horner was a special advisor on policy and public integrity to the Attorney General. Horner is a graduate of the State University at New York Stony Brook and resides in Delanson, NY.

For more information on the American Cancer Society’s advocacy agenda, please call 1-800-227-2345 or log onto

Additional Resources:
Photo of Blair Horner on Flickr
Background PDF on Health Insurance Exchanges
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network


About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit