SACRAMENTO - Cancer patients, their advocates and a bipartisan group of legislators attended a press conference Thursday to urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign a bill that would save cancer patients thousands of dollars on chemotherapy treatments.
Assembly Bill 1000, The Access to Cancer Treatment Act, was introduced by Assemblymember Henry T. Perea (D-Fresno) and would increase access to life saving chemotherapy by requiring health plans and insurers to cover pill-form chemo at the same affordable cost as intravenous chemo treatments.
California continues to lag behind twenty states and the District of Columbia where similar laws have already been passed. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed two bills with the same intent.
Insured patients taking IV chemo treatments make small copays for each treatment. But those same insured patients are struggling to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket each month for pill-form chemo prescriptions.
“Taking your chemo pill at home or at work is a convenient and effective treatment option that should be covered by health insurance plans at a fair price,” Assemblymember Perea said. “For some cancer patients, chemo pills are their only hope and there’s no reason they shouldn’t be covered by insurance like IV chemo treatments.”
“By making pill-form chemo treatments affordable for patients like women battling breast cancer, this legislation will no doubt save lives,” Assemblymember Nancy Skinner said.
Cancer patient Robert Adler spoke in support of AB 1000 at Thursday’s news conference. Robert’s friends and family helped him pay $3,200 a month for his chemo pills, which were not covered by his insurance plan. His treatment lasted more than a year and cost him $42,000.
“Wondering whether or not I was going to be able to afford my next bottle of pills was almost too much to handle,” Adler said. “It was more than anyone fighting cancer should have to deal with.”
AB 1000 was approved by both houses of the legislature with bi-partisan support and currently awaits Governor Brown’s signature.
Contact: Alisha Gallon 661-364-3655