House Committee Focuses on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on legislation that if enacted would greatly improve public health.
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Today, the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to expand coverage of biomarker testing – an essential step in accessing precision medicine treatments. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) has prioritized educating policymakers’ about the role of biomarker testing in precision medicine, which uses information about a person’s genes or proteins to prevent, diagnose, or treat diseases like cancer and improve cancer treatment and survival.
“For Illinoisans with serious diseases like cancer, we must improve access to biomarker testing to make sure they are receiving the best treatment possible,” said State Representative Mary Flowers. “Improving access to biomarker testing is essential for advancing our shared goals around health equity. Biomarker-driven therapies can help extend and save lives from some of the diseases that hit Black families hardest – metastatic lung, prostate and breast cancers.”
Dubbed ‘the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time,’ precision medicine has played a critical role in improving cancer outcomes. For example, patients with certain lung cancer types who received biomarker testing had a 28% reduction in mortality. But to determine if a patient will benefit from certain targeted therapies, doctors must test for specific biomarkers – such as gene mutations – found in blood, tissues or other bodily fluids that provide insight into physiological processes, medical conditions or disease.
Despite its benefits, access to biomarker testing has not kept pace with the rate of innovation due to several factors, including low awareness of new testing methodologies among providers and patients and lack of coverage by private health insurance and Medicaid programs.
“ACS CAN thanks the Illinois House for promptly moving this legislation and looks forward to seeing the Senate also move this legislation quickly to send this vital legislation to the governor’s desk for signing,” said Shana Crews, government relations director, ACS CAN.
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, 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 made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.