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Cancer Group Urges N.C. COVID-19 Committee to Enact Legislation to Safeguard Cancer Patients and Increase Access to Care

April 8, 2020
Raleigh, N.C.—In response to the N.C. General Assembly’s call for policy recommendations addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) of North Carolina, is advocating for the following:
 
  • Closing the health insurance coverage gap: Expand access and eligibility to Medicaid so North Carolinians can get the care and the treatment they need during this health crisis, and thus reduce the economic hardships faced by uninsured families.
  • Closing the chemotherapy gap: Prioritize passage of North Carolina’s Oral Chemotherapy Fairness legislation (HB480) to ensure immunocompromised cancer patients can have access to oral chemotherapy in the safety of their homes when medically appropriate.
  • Ensuring access to essential medications and medical products: Impose health plan restrictions on refill limits; prior authorization and step therapy protocols should also be suspended at this time.
  • Protecting patients from surprise medical bills: In this time of economic uncertainty, ACS CAN believes it’s critical to protect patients from medical debt related to testing and treatment for COVID-19, and the prohibition on surprise bills should apply to all providers, settings, and insurance plans.
 
“Cancer patients are frightened, not only about COVID-19, but how they will manage their diagnosis, disease, and medical expenses in this crisis,” said Christine Weason, government relations director for ACS CAN North Carolina. “And for an immunocompromised cancer patient, social distancing is even more imperative. Cancer patients need timely and affordable access to medical treatments and medications, as any lapse in care could mean disease progression, disability, and death.”
 
“ACS CAN wants to thank the General Assembly for acknowledging the urgent need to protect North Carolina’s highest-risk populations,” Weason continued. “We urge the Members of the House Select Committee – COVID-19 to adopt our recommendations, in order to better safeguard cancer patients during this health crisis.”
 
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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.

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