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New Kentucky Law Increases Access to Biomarker Cancer Testing

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Monday, March 27, 2023   

Beginning next year, more Kentuckians will have expanded access to biomarker testing - which helps doctors customize cancer treatment. Advocates of the new law say it will save lives and improve patients' quality of life.

Signed into law by Gov. Andy Beshear, House Bill 180 requires both private insurers and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing after a cancer diagnosis.

Doug Hogan - director of government relations for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) - explained that without biomarker testing, doctors typically try several rounds of chemotherapy or other treatments, without knowing which will work best for the patient.

He said biomarkers increase the odds of matching the right treatment to a specific cancer.

"We will be the fifth state in the country to adopt an enhanced access to biomarker testing law," said Hogan. "And so, we're on the cutting edge. This is the way that we can utilize technology to improve health outcomes."

The bill passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 30,000 Kentuckians will be diagnosed with cancer this year.

Hogan added that the new law will allow care teams to use the latest technology to make the best decisions for their patients.

"It is so important for these patients to get that right treatment at the right time," said Hogan. "It really will improve their health outcomes. It will save lives in many instances, and certainly will improve the quality of life."

Research shows biomarkers can in many cases reduce the cost of therapy, especially for lung cancer and colorectal cancer patients.

Cancer-care costs are expected to top more than $245 billion by 2030, according to the American Association for Cancer Research.





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