LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES FOR 2017
ABCF is urging continued support of The Breast and Cervical Cancer Services (BCCS) program, as well as support of funding for the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act (MBCC). Presently the BCCS screening and treatment program is included under the Healthy Texas Women Program through September 1, 2017. After September 1, women receiving Medicaid through the Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer (MBCC) program will get their services from the STAR+PLAN managed care program. People in the STAR+PLAN program pick a health plan as well as a primary care provider or clinic. The ABCF Advocacy Committee will meet with a Texas state representative or senator, and the Health and Human Services in Austin to thoroughly understand whether and how this program will protect treatment services for uninsured low-income women diagnosed with breast cancer and if there will be any out of pocket costs.
ABCF supports affordabel and accessible health care for all Americans
ABCF supports inclusion of a trained patient advocate who represents a cancer organization with a patient constituency on the Integration Panel, Oversight Committee, and all other committees of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).
ABCF supports HB 195 requiring insurance companies to cover diagnostic mammograms with no out-of-pocket costs, legislation introduced by Representative Diego Bernal.
ABCF supports legislation to regulate step therapy, also known as “fail first” requirements used by insurance companies to review the use of prescription drugs and control costs. Under this insurance company practice, patients may be required to try lower-cost or older drugs selected by their insurance company before coverage is granted for use of a newer, more costly drug prescribed by the patient’s health care provider. The legislation, if enacted, will protect patients living with serious or chronic illnesses from prolonged ineffective treatment and delayed access to the patient’s physician’s choice of treatment. Texas Senate and House legislation has been introduced: SB 680 filed by Senator Kelly Hancock and HB 1464 filed Representative Greg Bonnen.
Legislation passed with the support of ABCF
- House Bill (HB) 39 passed in the 1997 Legislature, providing protection from discrimination in employment or health insurance due to genetic information derived from genetic testing. ABCF spearheaded and worked on this legislation until it passed.
- Senate Bill (SB) 217 passed in the 1997 Legislature, requiring insurance coverage of breast reconstruction after mastectomy, including surgery on the non-affected breast to promote symmetry.
- HB 349 passed in the 1997 Legislature, requiring insurance companies that cover breast cancer treatment to provide inpatient care for a minimum of 48 hours following mastectomy and 24 hours following lymph node dissection.
- SB 532 – the Texas version of the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act (establishing the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program run by Medicaid) – passed in the 2001 Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Perry, becoming effective September 1, 2001.
- SB 39 passed in the 2009 Legislature, requiring all Texas health insurers to cover routine care costs associated with participation in federally approved clinical trials. This legislation was also spearheaded by ABCF.
- HB 438 passed in the 2011 Legislature, providing coverage for orally administered cancer treatment no less favorably than intravenously administered or injected chemotherapy treatments.