Cancer Advocates Urge Colorado Legislators to Take Critical Step to Connect Patients with Most Effective Treatment Options

State bill aims to increase access to biomarker testing, a necessary step for precision medicine, which can lead to improved survivorship and quality of life and can potentially reduce costs

March 13, 2024

Cancer Action Day 2024DENVER, COLO. — MARCH 13, 2024 — American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) volunteers from across Colorado convened at the State Capitol on Wednesday. They urged lawmakers to pass SB 124, which if enacted would ensure  biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans, including Health First Colorado, when supported by medical and scientific evidence.   

“Every year on Cancer Action Day, people who have been touched by cancer – including patients, survivors and caregivers -- meet with state legislators and remind them of their pivotal role in helping reduce the cancer burden in Colorado,” said Sabrina Wright-Hobart, a three-time breast cancer survivor and ACS CAN volunteer. “Biomarker testing helped guide the personalized treatment plan that saved my life. Right now, legislators can help advance the fight against cancer by increasing access to biomarker testing, which would allow more Coloradans diagnosed with cancer or other diseases to get the most effective treatment options available.”   

Biomarker testing is critical to unlocking precision medicine, including targeted therapies, which can improve survivorship and quality of life for cancer patients and others with serious illnesses. In addition, biomarker testing could help patients save invaluable time, physical and emotional strain, and money by avoiding treatments that are likely to be ineffective or unnecessary.  

Additionally, over 60% of the oncology drugs launched in the past five years require or recommend biomarker testing before use. However, insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in treatment.   

“This means that countless Coloradans are missing out on biomarker testing. Communities of color, individuals with limited income, rural residents and patients receiving care in non-academic medical centers are less likely to receive guideline-indicated biomarker testing. Senate Bill 124 -- co-sponsored by Senator Janice Rich, Senator Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Representative Anthony Hartsook -- would help address this health injustice," said R.J. Ours, government relations director for ACS CAN Colorado.   

To date, 15 states across the country have passed legislation expanding access to biomarker testing, including our neighboring state of New Mexico.   

“In Colorado, we believe everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to be and stay healthy. Reducing health insurance coverage barriers to this essential testing could help bring the promise of precision medicine to more Coloradoans and help give them a better chance at surviving cancer with a better quality of life,” said Wright-Hobart.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has scheduled a hearing for SB 124 on Thursday, March 14th, at 1:30 p.m. in Room SCR 357. 

More Press Releases AboutAccess to Biomarker Testing, Colorado

Media Contacts

Alex Wiles
Sr. Regional Media Advocacy Manager
Denver, CO