Pa. House approves cancer treatment bill

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The state House of Representatives has passed legislation to prevent insurance companies from limiting coverage of drugs for stage four cancer patients.

House Bill 1280 was sent to the Senate on Wednesday after a unanimous vote.

Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) said the measure would bring new hope for patients diagnosed with a stage-four metastatic cancer. He said those patients sometimes can’t get certain drugs unless other treatment options fail.

“Those individuals who are dealing with the diagnosis of late-stage cancer that has started to spread throughout their body should have no barriers to access the most current medications prescribed by their doctors,” Baker said in a statement. “Under my legislation, insurance companies would no longer have the ability to delay access to the treatment options patients may need to save or extend their lives.”

Similar legislation named for President Jimmy Carter was signed into law last year by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.

Carter had been diagnosed with melanoma that spread to his brain. He began taking a newly approved drug and said last year that he stopped treatment after several scans found no cancer in his body.

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