Rhode Island Senate Votes to Remove Barriers to Biomarker Testing

Leading public health group urges House to follow Senate’s lead ensuring biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans, and can benefit more Rhode Islanders

May 19, 2022

PROVIDENCE–Today, the Rhode Island Senate passed legislation that would ensure biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans, including Medicaid, when patients need it.

Dubbed ‘the right treatment, to the right patient, at the right time,’ precision medicine has played a critical role in improving cancer outcomes – biomarker testing being one of the ways we can achieve these outcomes by allowing doctors to understand and target unique markers in a patient’s cancer cells. Despite its benefits, access to biomarker testing has not kept pace with the rate of innovation due in part to lack of coverage by private health insurance and Medicaid for needed testing.

Senate Bill 2201 aims to enable more Rhode Islanders to benefit from biomarker testing, a critical step in accessing precision medicine treatments. The bill now heads to the House.

The following is a statement from Cori Chandler, government relations director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) in Rhode Island:

"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 many months, we have heard countless stories of the difficulties a patient may face in attempting to access this important testing. It’s time for that to change.

"This legislation will help dismantle barriers and bring the promise of precision medicine to cancer patients no matter their income, race or where they live. This would 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 Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin for championing this effort and the Rhode Island Senate for approving this legislation. We urge the House to follow suit and also take this critical step towards reducing health inequities and improving cancer outcomes."

For more information on precision medicine, cancer biomarkers, current barriers to biomarker testing and ACS CAN’s policy recommendations, visit:



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



Media Contacts

Cory Chandler
Rhode Island Government Relations Director