Proposed Law to Expand Access to Biomarker Testing in Colorado Passes Committee

Cancer Advocates Applaud Lawmakers for Making Cancer Care a Top Priority

February 23, 2023

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DENVER, COLO. – FEBRUARY 23, 2023 – The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) applauds members of the Health & Insurance committee for passing House Bill 1110, Health-care Coverage for Biomarker Testing, this week. The bi-partisan bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet (D) and Rep. Anthony Hartsook (R), aims to expand access to biomarker testing in Colorado. 

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, too many Coloradans still can’t access biomarker testing. Despite the enormous benefits, insurance coverage is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in biomarker testing and treatment. As a result, some patients are left with the decision of paying for testing out-of-pocket or going without this information. Unfortunately, not all communities—especially those who are marginalized--are benefitting from the latest advancements in biomarker testing and precision medicine

“The passage of HB1110 through the Health & Insurance committee is another step toward saving lives in the fight against cancer,” said Rep. Hartsook. “Biomarker testing is a game changer in cancer care – helping doctors to identify the most effective treatment for a patient which can improve their quality of life and potentially bypass the costs of ineffective treatments. We cannot wait any longer; more Coloradans must have access to testing.”  

If passed, HB1110 would require state-regulated insurance companies and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing for patients who need it when supported by medical and scientific evidence.

“I am eager to change the outcome for Coloradans diagnosed with cancer,” said Rep. Jenet. “As a cancer survivor and someone with friends and family members who have suffered with cancer, I know the importance of getting the right treatment at the right time. I urge my colleagues in the House to continue making cancer care at top priority and pass HB1110.” 

Without action on biomarker testing, existing disparities in cancer outcomes by race, ethnicity, income, and geography could increase. To date, 4 states across the country have passed legislation expanding access to biomarker testing, including Arizona. 

ACS CAN volunteers, including cancer survivors, patients, and caregivers will also meet with lawmakers and urge them to pass HB1110 during ACS CAN’s Cancer Action Day at the Capitol in Denver on Wednesday, March 8, 2023. 

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