April 15, Cancer Advocates Fight for Expanded Access to Health Care

April 11, 2019

OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahomans from across the state gather at the Capitol on Monday to ask for expanded access to health care and policies that will help curb tobacco use.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network of Oklahoma’s annual Day at the Capitol puts cancer advocates face-to-face with their legislators to encourage them to make cancer a top priority.

This year, ACS CAN Oklahoma volunteers want legislators to accept federal funds to provide needed health insurance to Oklahomans so they can access life-saving cancer screenings and other essential health care. Without insurance, Oklahomans may delay screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, which significantly increases the chance that they will be diagnosed with late-stage cancer. Late-stage cancer is more expensive to treat and has a lower survival rate. 

Monday also provides volunteers the opportunity to thank the Legislature for unanimously supporting Senate Bill 509, which reforms step therapy. The full House of Representatives voted April 9 to allow patients to request an exemption from step therapy requirements when appropriate.  Step therapy is a process that requires patients to try and fail on a less expensive and potentially less effective medication before their insurance would cover a drug that their physician originally prescribed. Because SB 509 was also passed unanimously in the Senate, it now makes its way to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk.

Advocates will also press lawmakers to pass a comprehensive smoke-free law to protect Oklahomans from deadly secondhand smoke.

Interviews with cancer survivors and advocates will be available Monday. Media are welcomed to attend.

WHAT: ACS CAN Oklahoma Day at the Capitol

WHEN: Monday, April 15
                9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
                Times of note:
10-10:30 a.m. – remarks from Reps. Jason Dunnington and Harold Wright

WHERE: Oklahoma State Capitol, Room 112