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 impacted by cancer and their leadership is vital to defeating this disease. In 2023 the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) will work with the Maryland Legislature on legislative and regulatory efforts that provide affordable, adequate access to health insurance including Medicaid, ensure adequate appropriations funding for lifesaving cancer screening programs, and enact prevention policies that help people who use tobacco products quit and deter kids from ever using tobacco products. We will be making the following fact-based policies a priority and ask for your support:
Ensuring Access to Quality Care
Access to Biomarker Testing: ACS CAN will advocate for improved coverage of comprehensive biomarker testing. Progress in improving cancer outcomes increasingly involves the use of precision medicine, which uses information about a person’s own genes or proteins to prevent, diagnose or treat diseases like cancer. Biomarker testing is an important step to accessing precision medicine which includes targeted therapies that can lead to improved survivorship and better quality of life for cancer patients, but insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in treatment.
Network Adequacy: ACS CAN will support legislation regarding health insurance network adequacy to help ensure that cancer patients and cancer survivors have access to appropriate medical specialists they may need.
Medication Access: ACS CAN will advocate for legislation that ensures prior authorization and step therapy requirements for prescription drugs are clear, efficient and patient-friendly while also allowing for exceptions when appropriate.
Prescription Drug Transparency: ACS CAN will continue to support legislation that allows cancer patients and all health consumers to know which drugs are covered and what their out-of-pocket costs will be for those drugs before buying a health insurance plan. We will also support policies that encourage more copay only plans, place limits on out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, and ensure that all cost-sharing payments are counted.
Cancer Prevention and Early Detection
Breast and Cervical Cancer: ACS CAN will advocate to maintain funding of $13.23 M for Maryland’s state breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment program for low-income uninsured and underinsured women administered by the Maryland Department of Health.
Reducing the Toll of Tobacco
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Funding: ACS CAN will work to increase funding for fact-based, statewide tobacco prevention and cessation programs at $18.25 million.
Access to Tobacco Cessation: ACS CAN will advocate for all insurance plans, including the state Medicaid program, to provide a comprehensive cessation benefit that covers individual, group, and telephone counseling and all FDA-approved tobacco cessation medications without cost-sharing or other barriers to accessing care.
Local governments are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the people in their communities. ACS CAN supports their ability to pass laws that are proven to promote good health, well-being, and equality. Preserving local control is needed to pass innovative and proactive public health policies. ACS CAN works at the local, state, and federal levels; thus, it supports each level of government’s ability to implement policies for cleaner, safer, healthier communities. The right of local governments to pass public health policies stronger than state laws must be preserved to continue future advocacy efforts to reduce suffering and death from cancer.
For more information, contact: John Hoctor, Managing Director ACS CAN