2018 End of Session Summary
Victory in the fight against cancer requires bold new public policies that promote cancer prevention, early detection of cancer, and expand access to quality, affordable health care. Lawmakers make many decisions that impact the lives of Maryland residents touched by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. In 2018, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) worked with the Maryland General Assembly in support of the following priorities:
Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
- Smoke-free Air: ACS CAN celebrated the 10th year since implementation of the Clean Indoor Air Act, which prohibited smoking in almost all Maryland workplaces and enclosed public places, including bars and restaurants. ACS CAN also monitored Maryland’s Clean Indoor Air law to ensure it would not be weakened.
- Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN advocated for restoring funding for evidence-based, statewide tobacco use prevention and cessation programs to $21 million, however this bill did not pass and funding remains level at $10 million.
- Tobacco 21: ACS CAN supported measures to increase age of sale for all tobacco products to 21. We had strong hearings in the Senate Finance Committee and House Economic Matters committee but, in the end, the legislation failed. Leadership in both committees acknowledged the importance of this legislation and the national campaign behind it.
Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
- Breast and Cervical Cancer: ACS CAN advocated to maintain funding of $13.2 million for the state breast and cervical cancer screening and early detection program. This program, administered by the Maryland Department of Health, aides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women.
- Cancer Research, Screening, Detection and Treatment: ACS CAN worked to maintain funding for local cancer screening, treatment, patient navigation programs and research at Maryland’s renowned academic medical centers (John Hopkins University and the University of Maryland) at $24.9 million.
Ensuring Access to Quality Care
- Medicaid: ACS CAN monitored funds for the State’s Medicaid program to ensure funding remained intact. The health care coverage provided by Medicaid affords residents screened and diagnosed with cancer access to comprehensive health care coverage through the end of their treatment. It has been critical in the fight against cancer.
- Health Insurance Coverage for Lymphedema: ACS CAN supported legislation requiring an insurer that provides hospital, medical, or surgical benefits to provide coverage for medically necessary diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of lymphedema. This legislation passed both chambers unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan. It takes effect on January 1, 2019.
Skin Cancer Prevention
- Indoor Tanning Devices: Even though state legislation to prohibit the use of indoor tanning devices by minors under the age of 18 was not introduced this year, ACS CAN advocated for local legislation in Charles County—which passed. Charles County joins Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties that have this law. Currently, the other jurisdictions in Maryland permit minors 16 and 17 years of age to use indoor tanning devices with a required signed parental consent form.
For more information, contact: Jocelyn Collins/ MD Government Relations Director at [email protected].