LAKE SUCCESS, NY – November 27, 2023 – Local health care providers, cancer survivors, and patient advocates gathered today at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to prioritize health equity by improving access to biomarker testing and signing Se
‘Game-Changing’ Bill Becomes Law in New Mexico, Opening the Door to Precision Medicine for More Patients
Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham Signs HB73 into Law, Helping Connect Patients with the Right Treatment at the Right Time
SANTE FE – APRIL 5, 2023 – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 73 Wednesday, expanding access to biomarker testing to more patients statewide. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and its team of volunteers, including cancer survivors, patients, caregivers and partners applaud the Governor and State Legislators for taking this extraordinary step in prioritizing the needs of patients in New Mexico and revolutionizing their access to care.
Biomarker testing has become a game-changing part of cancer care in recent years. Testing is a necessary first step in opening the door to precision medicine and targeted treatments which can lead to improved survivorship and quality of life. After a cancer diagnosis, biomarker testing can help connect patients with the right treatment at the right time. As a result, patients may be able to avoid unnecessary treatments with potentially life-altering side effects.
Currently, many New Mexicans don’t have access to the biomarker testing they need, because their healthcare insurance plan doesn’t cover the most appropriate test. Despite the enormous proven benefits, some insurers have failed to keep pace with innovations and advancements in biomarker testing and treatment. This results in some patients being forced to decide whether to pay out-of-pocket or go without the needed testing.
State-regulated insurance companies, including Medicaid, will now be required to cover biomarker testing for patients when supported by medical and scientific evidence. Expanding access to biomarker testing will help bridge the divide between marginalized communities and access to the cancer care they deserve.
In 2023, more than 11,000 New Mexicans are projected to be diagnosed with cancer and, of those, nearly 3,000 are expected to die. Cancer is the leading cause of death nationwide among Hispanic/Latino people with Black/African American populations dying from cancer at a rate disproportionate to White populations. Expanding access to biomarker testing is a step to avoid exacerbating existing disparities in cancer outcomes by race, ethnicity, income, and geography.
“As a cancer survivor, I applaud the Governor for putting the needs of cancer patients first,” said Rep. Joy Garratt, co-sponsor of HB73 and ovarian cancer survivor. “Biomarker testing is a game changer in cancer care; it could’ve made a difference in my own diagnosis. Testing is a key to unlocking precision or personalized medicine, yet so many communities have been left behind. This law will assure equitable access to care and provide hope to thousands of New Mexicans diagnosed with cancer each year.”
“Today is a win for cancer survivors and patients across New Mexico,” said Brian Hummell, ACS CAN New Mexico Government Relations Director. “After a person is diagnosed with cancer or another disease, it is vital they have access to the right treatment at the right time, no matter their race, ethnicity, income, or where they live. I’m proud of the work ACS CAN, our team of volunteers, and partners have done in the state to ensure equitable access to quality care.”
In February, ACS CAN volunteers including Joyce Graves, three-time cancer survivor from Gallup, traveled to the State Capitol for ‘Cancer Action Day’ to meet with lawmakers and urge them to support biomarkers legislation in New Mexico.
ACS CAN encourages individuals, businesses and organizations that are interested in getting involved in the fight against cancer to visit FightCancer.org/NewMexico or follow ACS CAN New Mexico on Twitter and Facebook.