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Bill introduced to make oral cancer medication more affordable

News from America

15 March 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — There’s a new effort on Capitol Hill to make newer cancer treatment options more affordable.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) along with U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kansas) re-introduced the “Cancer Drug Parity Act” Wednesday.

The goal, says Senator Smith, is to make sure oral cancer drugs are covered in the same way as traditional chemotherapy.

In a nutshell, the legislation would prevent insurers from covering self-administered cancer medicines at different rates than IV chemotherapy.

Currently, 40 states including Minnesota have passed similar laws. But Smith says this would expand protections to the federal level.

“Advances in cancer treatment have made it possible for Americans to get life-saving oral cancer medication. This means people can now take the life-saving medicine they need without having to leave their homes, and in a far less intrusive way than traditional IV chemotherapy,” said Sen. Smith in an official statement. “But since oral cancer medications are self-administered, many people are having to shell out more dollars because this medication isn’t covered the same way as IV treatments. I’m reintroducing my bipartisan bill with Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas to put a stop to charging more for oral cancer drugs because we should be doing all we can to make life-saving cancer treatment more affordable for all Americans.”

The bill would not mandate healthcare plans to provide chemotherapy coverage, but only apply to plans already covering cancer treatment.

The bill was introduced last year, but stalled in Congress.

Read more here.