2021 Arizona Legislative Session Wrap-up

July 29, 2021

On June 30, the Arizona Legislature ended its regular session just hours before the new Fiscal Year started and Arizona’s cancer community had its share of legislative success.

Included in the budget signed by the Governor is a consistent priority for ACS CAN, the funding for Arizona’s Well Woman HealthCheck Program, which provides mammograms and Paps for uninsured women who are financially challenged. Women who qualify for the program and are diagnosed with cancer receive treatment through the state’s Medicaid program. As has been the case for the past six years, the state is funding the program with almost $1.4 million for the screenings. The program usually can screen about 8,000 women annually and usually finds about 250 cases of cancer.

One of the last bills to receive a vote in the House was the final touches on a priority bill for ACS CAN important to protect patients in receiving treatments recommended by their doctor. The Step Therapy Reform bill establishes a uniform way of processing “step therapy” for insurance products regulated by the state. The new law awaits the Governor’s signature and will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.  The new law would ensure that patients receive timely consideration of their request to avoid step therapy recommendations by their insurer; or be allowed to use the medication originally prescribed.

Lastly, the battle with Big Tobacco finished with a stalemate once again – but only through your determined efforts to fight back against an egregious tobacco industry-produced bill. That bill passed the Senate and came too close to getting a vote in the House. But our coalition stepped up and showed the House leadership that the bill was doomed to fail. This effort is not over and we can be sure the tobacco industry will step up its efforts to pass another bill next year and keep fighting to stop our local efforts at tobacco control.

All of these successes are only able to be recorded because of our volunteers. We want to thank our Arizona volunteers for continuing to fight for Arizona’s cancer community.