Biomarker Testing Bill Fails to Advance

Washington Falling Behind in Access to Precision Medicine

February 5, 2024

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- February 5, 2024 –  Cancer patients, survivors, their families and caregivers from throughout Washington gathered at the Capitol on Monday to ask legislators to support House Bill 1450, which would have expanded insurance coverage of biomarker testing and made sure as many state residents as possible have access to this technology. They were disappointed to learn that the bill did not advance through House Appropriations and so instead turned their efforts and advocacy to the 2025 session.

“While we are disappointed by the legislature not moving HB 1450 forward, we are determined to keep advocating for patients to have access to biomarker testing and the treatment that is right for them,” said Matt Helder, Washington Government Relations Director. “Washington is known as a national leader in research of precision medicine. We can’t afford to let Washington keep falling behind states like Arkansas and Kentucky when it comes to access to those breakthroughs.”

The Monday event was part of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s annual Cancer Action Day, an event that brought nearly 70 people affected by cancer together to call on the Washington Legislature to make cancer a policy priority.

Beyond its game-changing contributions to cancer care, biomarker testing is important in the treatment of arthritis, other autoimmune conditions and rare diseases, with ongoing research happening in many other areas including Alzheimer’s, other neurological conditions, heart conditions and more. Without coverage for appropriate biomarker testing, patients and their families are often faced with the decision of paying for these tests out-of-pocket or forgoing them altogether.

This year, more than 44,000 Washingtonians will be diagnosed with cancer and an estimated 13,640 will die from the disease. Those who traveled to the Capitol will continue to work with legislators to change that and urge them to get this approved in 2025. Eventual passage of biomarker access legislation will make sure more residents have insurance coverage that allows for easy access to precision medicine.

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