you're reading...
Illinois health care

Oral Cancer Drug Insurance Parity Bill Gets OK from Gov. Pat Quinn

State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago)

(Chicago, IL) — July 27, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation to ensure that health insurance benefits apply equally between oral and injectable cancer drugs, ensuring that cancer patients have more affordable and at times, necessary, treatment options available.

The legislation, House Bill 1825 sponsored by State Rep. Ann Williams (D-Chicago) and State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), requires private health insurance plans that provide coverage for oral and intravenous chemotherapy to cover both at the same benefit level.

“Patients battling cancer shouldn’t have to forgo potentially life-savings treatments because of costs,” Quinn said. “This legislation will provide more affordable coverage options, so that patients can choose the best, most appropriate therapy to fight their cancer.”

Historically, chemotherapy drugs have been primarily administered intravenously. Today, many types of chemotherapy can be taken via a liquid, tablet or capsule, a less invasive alternative. In fact, oral chemotherapy is the only appropriate treatment for certain types of cancer, and can also provide an alternative for patients who have trouble responding to other treatments.

Many healthcare benefit plans have failed to change to ensure patient access to oral chemotherapy, forcing some cancer patients to pay higher out-of-pocket costs simply because their treatment is dispensed orally.

“Amazing advances in medicine have resulted in groundbreaking new therapies to treat all types of cancer – this includes oral chemotherapy options and targeted cancer drugs in pill form.” said Williams, the measure’s chief sponsor.

“We are simply providing for health insurance companies to structure their benefit plans to ensure patients have access to the most effective treatments available – regardless of the means of delivery of these drugs.”

The disparity in coverage for oral treatments is also a factor in deployment of “smart drugs” in cancer treatment. Traditional radiation and chemotherapy are effective in killing cancerous cells, but also kill many healthy cells, weakening a patient’s immune system.

Smart drugs are delivered orally and designed to navigate the bloodstream with precision to stop the growth of cancer cells, often avoiding damage to healthy cells. While these regimens are often more costly up front, they may be able to significantly decrease the amount of therapy time, increase positive outcomes and reduce longer-term costs associated with traditional intravenous treatments.

“This legislation is critical to ensure cancer patients can select the treatment therapy most appropriate for them rather than based on what insurance companies cover,” said Steans.

Despite the initial opposition of some leading insurance companies, lawmakers approved the legislation unanimously because cancer has touched so many lives that legislators understood the measure’s importance, according to Williams.

“We worked hard to get strong bipartisan support, which is how it got the momentum to pass unanimously,” said Williams. “Unfortunately, almost everyone has had their lives touched by cancer in some way, so my colleagues had a real understanding of what a positive impact this bill could have on patients dealing with cancer.”

Illinois joins other states that have enacted cancer drug parity laws including: Connecticut, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Hawaii, Kansas, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, the District of Columbia, and New Mexico.

Quinn, Steans, Williams, and all members of the Illinois General Assembly have rendered a genuine service to the public.

The measure takes effect Jan. 1.

About David Ormsby

David, a public relations consultant and blogger at The Huffington Post, is an ex-Press Secretary of the Illinois Democratic Party.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Submit your email address and be among the first to receive our posts by e-mail as soon as they are published. It's free.

David Ormsby, Editor

RSS Gov. Pat Quinn

  • Pat Quinn On Gay Marriage: Illinois Governor Endorses Marriage ... The Huffington Post News Editors
  • Hon. Pat Quinn, Governor, State of Illinois « City Club Chicago Videos city club chicago
  • Governor Pat Quinn Puts His Foot Down On Gambling Expansion ... Mark
  • Teachers picket against pension changes : News : ConnectTriStates ... KHQA Newsdesk
  • Detective Shaved Longcock: Gov Quinn coughs up over $73 ... Det. Shaved Longcock
  • Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn Endorses Gay Marriage unknown
  • Democurmudgeon: Gov. Pat Quinn exposes Scott Walker as a fake ... Democurmudgeon
  • Quinn Launches “Save Our State" Website | Chicago Tonight | WTTW Yasmin Rammohan
  • McHenry County Blog | Pat Quinn Tells Truth about Pension ... Cal Skinner

RSS IL General Assembly

  • Illinois General Assembly Approves Money to Keep Day Care Center Open, Bill ... - WJBD Online May 18, 2012
  • State's Minimum Wage Could Become Highest in Country - Patch.com May 18, 2012
  • General Assembly puts health exchange bill on back burner - Crain's Chicago Business May 10, 2012
  • Legislative update: Budget, pension, Medicaid await Illinois General Assembly ... - NIU Today May 15, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - MarketWatch (press release) May 1, 2012
  • Personal property tax diversion goes nowhere in legislature - The State Journal-Register May 16, 2012
  • American Progressive Bag Alliance Urges Illinois General Assembly To Pass ... - PR Newswire (press release) May 1, 2012
  • Chicago Cubs, Obama controversy part of final days of legislative session - Examiner.com May 19, 2012
  • Feds give Illinois more money for insurance exchange as Legislature stalls - Crain's Chicago Business May 17, 2012
  • Our View: Illinois pensions, casinos and Rockford's new bishop in stew - Rockford Register Star May 13, 2012

RSS The Capitol Fax Blog

  • Reader comments closed for the weekend May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Chicago Tribune: Coal plant closures could send electricity costs soaring May 18, 2012 Advertising Department
  • Protected: *** UPDATED x5 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: This just in… May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Question of the day May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • OK, so where’s your plan? May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Caption contest! May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Topinka: Cigarette tax hike a “common sense solution” May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • Slots at tracks a possibility? Maybe May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • AFSCME loses appeal over canceled raises May 18, 2012 Rich Miller
  • *** UPDATED x2 - Ricketts gave preliminary approval, lauded TV ad *** Cubs owners try damage control May 18, 2012 Rich Miller

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 136 other followers

Powered by WordPress.com