House & Senate Committee Hearings to Highlight Critical Need for Affordable Access to Lifesaving Medication

Lawmakers to consider legislation that aims to stop health plans from targeting patients who rely on copay assistance programs

February 27, 2024

ANNAPOLIS, MD – February 27, 2024 – Tomorrow, the Maryland Senate Finance Committee will consider Senate Bill 595, which seeks to create more predictability for patients facing high out-of-pocket expenses for lifesaving medication. The following day, February 29, the House Health and Government Operations Committee will hold a hearing on the companion bill, House Bill 879.

Current practices in Maryland make it so that a patient using copay assistance to fill a prescription for a lifesaving medication may incur hefty unexpected medical bills—a result of insurers or pharmacy benefit managers not applying copay assistance payments to a patient’s deductible. Senate Bill 595/House Bill 879 will clarify that all payments made by the patient or on behalf of the patient by a third-party program count toward the patient’s deductible and out-of-pocket costs, creating more predictability around medication expenses.

Lance Kilpatrick, Maryland Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), will testify at the hearing to make the case to enact these patient protections for Marylanders, following the lead of nineteen other states.

“Marylanders undergoing treatment for a chronic illness should not have to deal with surprise medical bills. Patients who receive a diagnosis for a serious illness, such as cancer, already deal with too many unpleasant surprises,” said Kilpatrick. “Senate Bill 595/House Bill 879 represents a bipartisan opportunity for lawmakers to ensure that patients have access to affordable and predictable out-of-pocket costs for lifesaving care. ACS CAN is urging Senate Finance and House Health and Government Operations Committee members to vote in support of this proposal, making it so that their constituents have fewer barriers to critical care.”

Earlier this month, advocates with ACS CAN traveled to Annapolis for their annual Cancer Action Day to connect with lawmakers on the proposed legislation.

Liza Fues of Bethesda, MD was among the advocates who traveled to the Capitol. During her visit with lawmakers, Fues shared how different her recovery from two breast cancer diagnoses would have been if she had to navigate high expenses.

“Thankfully, my health insurance did not strap me with unexpected bills. I got to focus on my treatment and recovery without fear of incurring debt or forgoing care,” said Fues. “Patients already must deal with managing their disease. That’s stressful enough. They shouldn’t have to worry how they’re going to pay for their treatment. The only thing they should be focused on is managing their condition. Senate Bill 595/House Bill 879 would help them to do so.”

For more information on existing barriers to Marylanders’ access to cancer care as well as ACS CAN’s policy recommendations, visit


About ACS CAN 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone. We engage our volunteers across the country to make their voices heard by policymakers at every level of government. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to make cancer a top priority for policymakers in cities, states and our nation’s capital. Join the fight by visiting


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