HELENA, Mont. – May 9, 2019 — The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and its volunteer advocates, most of them cancer patients and survivors, are pleased that Gov. Bullock is signing House Bill (HB) 658 into law today.
Ten cancer advocates with ACS CAN, the American Cancer Society’s policy affiliate, will be on hand during the governor’s 10:00 a.m. signing ceremony today at the Governor’s Reception Room.
“For me, it was incredibly challenging to work full-time while going through cancer treatment,” said ACS CAN volunteer advocate Amy Coseo. “As a small-business owner, the stress of doing my best to care for my clients while caring for myself during treatment no doubt slowed my healing process. No one should have to fight for access to care when fighting for their life. I want all hardworking Montanans facing cancer to have access to care so they can focus on getting through treatment and the hard work of healing.”
Medicaid matters in the fight against cancer. Preserving access to care is one of the most effective ways to prevent and detect cancer early, treat cancer effectively, and bolster the quality of life for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
“Cancer caught early through preventive services provided by Medicaid saves lives as well as health care costs because when cancer is caught early, survival rates increase and it’s less expensive to treat,” added Coseo.
Montana has made significant progress in the fight against cancer – reducing the number of uninsured state residents, increasing timely and appropriate utilization of primary and preventive services, detecting cancer earlier and connecting more cancer patients to treatment services.
“We would like to thank the 89 representatives and senators (59% of both houses) who supported a bi-partisan solution that will maintain access to health insurance coverage for 96,000 hardworking low-income Montanans, and we thank Gov. Bullock for reauthorizing the Montana HELP Act today,” said Kristin Page-Nei, government relations director for ACS CAN Montana. “We are especially proud of Reps. Ed Buttrey, Mary Caferro and Gov. Steve Bullock for their commitment to preserving access to care for countless low-income state residents.”
ACS CAN is pleased that Gov. Bullock and members of the legislature reached a compromise to create a path for the state of Montana to continue providing life-changing and lifesaving health care coverage to low-income Montanans in 2019 and beyond. However, ACS CAN is concerned about the potential impact that new administrative reporting requirements could have on low-income Montanans’ eligibility and access to Medicaid, especially cancer patients, survivors, and other enrollees who are managing serious, chronic health conditions.
“Over the next several months, we will work closely with the legislature, Gov. Bullock and the Department of Public Health and Human Services on the administrative rulemaking and regulatory actions to implement this legislation,” said Page-Nei.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.