Cancer Survivors Thank New Mexico State Lawmakers for Passing Biomarker Testing Bill

House Bill 73 Awaits Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s Signature

March 22, 2023

SANTE FE – MARCH 20, 2023 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds members of the New Mexico State Legislature for passing House Bill 73 as the 2023 legislative session ended. With the signature of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, the bill will expand access to biomarker testing statewide, helping to revolutionize cancer care in New Mexico. 

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. If the Governor doesn’t sign this bill into law, existing disparities in cancer outcomes by race, ethnicity, income, and geography could increase.

Biomarker testing has become a game-changing part of cancer care in recent years as it’s a necessary first step in opening the door to targeted treatments that can lead to survivorship and quality of life. After a cancer diagnosis, biomarkers 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. 

Unfortunately, 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 are failing 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. Some communities – specifically those who are historically marginalized – are being left behind.  

“My colleagues in the New Mexico State Legislature have taken a major step toward health equity and improving access to personalized medicine in our state,” said Rep. Joy Garratt, co-sponsor of HB73 and ovarian cancer survivor. “Biomarker testing is a game changer in cancer care. It helps doctors identify the most effective treatment for a patient which can not only improve their quality of life and outcomes, but it can potentially bypass the costs of ineffective treatments. New Mexicans impacted by cancer are confident Gov. Lujan Grisham will do what is right and sign this bill into law.”  

If signed into law, the bill would require state-regulated insurance companies, including Medicaid, to cover biomarker testing for patients when supported by medical and scientific evidence.

“We are on the verge of making a difference for New Mexicans diagnosed with cancer,” said Joyce Graves, cancer survivor and ACS CAN volunteer from Gallup. “As a three-time cancer survivor, I know the importance of getting the right treatment at the right time. I urge Gov. Lujan Grisham to prioritize cancer care and sign HB73 into law.” 

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

More Press Releases AboutAccess to Biomarker Testing, New Mexico

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Alex Wiles
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Las Vegas, NV