New York State Senate Votes to Remove Barriers to Biomarker Testing

Cancer survivors and leading public health group urge Assembly to follow Senate’s lead ensuring biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans and can benefit more New Yorkers

June 5, 2023

ALBANY, NY – JUNE 5, 2023 – This afternoon, the New York State Senate passed legislation that would ensure biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans, including Medicaid, when patients need it. This legislative victory came several hours after the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) hosted cancer patients and survivors at the Capitol to honor National Cancer Survivors Day.  

Biomarker testing has revolutionized cancer treatment over the last few decades and is increasingly important in the treatment of other conditions, providing access to targeted treatment and tailoring care to a person’s individual disease. Targeted therapies often result in improved quality of life and survivorship. For example, patients with certain lung cancer types who received biomarker testing and then a targeted therapy saw a 31% reduction in risk of death. 

Unfortunately, insurance coverage for biomarker testing is failing to keep pace with innovation and advancements in treatment. As a result, many cancer patients who should be receiving biomarker testing are missing out on these advances.

Senate Bill 1196 aims to enable more New Yorkers to benefit from biomarker testing, a critical step in accessing precision medicine treatments. The bill now heads to the Assembly.

The following is a statement from Michael Davoli, Senior Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in New York:

"Biomarker testing and precision medicine are helping extend and improve lives by tailoring care and treatment to a person’s individual condition. Over the past few months, we have heard countless stories of the difficulties patients face in attempting to access this important testing. It’s time for that to change.

"This legislation will help address a significant barrier and bring the promise of precision medicine to more patients no matter their income, race or where they live. This can provide many benefits to patients including better outcomes, improved quality of life and in some cases reduced costs from bypassing ineffective therapies.

"ACS CAN thanks Senator Roxanne Persaud for championing this effort and the New York State Senate for approving this legislation. We urge the Assembly to follow suit and take this critical step towards reducing health inequities and improving health outcomes."

In 2023, approximately 31,320 New Yorkers will die from cancer. Improved access to biomarker testing can connect more patients to the most effective treatments, enabling more patients to live longer and better. For more information on precision medicine, cancer biomarkers, current barriers to biomarker testing and ACS CAN’s policy recommendations, visit:




The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) advocates for evidence-based public policies to reduce the cancer burden for everyone.  As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state, and local levels. By engaging advocates across the country to make their voices heard, ACS CAN influences legislative and regulatory solutions that will end cancer as we know it.


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