The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

March 21, 2014

Our View: Evolution in thinking

— An evolution in the treatment of cancer patients calls for an evolution in the law. Fortunately, Missouri legislators quickly worked together on passing a bill that will require insurance companies to cover the same out-of-pocket costs for chemotherapy pills as they do for intravenous chemotherapy treatments.

For thousands of cancer patients receiving care in this state, it means they will be able to afford the targeted treatment that comes in certain cases when the use of chemo pills is appropriate.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday signed a bill into law that prevents insurance companies from charging higher prices for oral chemotherapy medicines.

In doing so, he made the statement that “Missourians struggling to overcome this terrible disease deserve access to the most effective treatments available, not a $10,000 prescription bill.”

The new law will limit the out-of-pocket cost insurance companies can charge for the chemo pill to $75 for a 30-day supply.

This bill had overwhelming support in both the House and the Senate, and why shouldn’t it? The heartbreak of cancer is evident. It crosses all walks of life and affects people of all income levels. Its costs can be astronomical.

This evolution of thinking needs to continue in our Legislature so as to help those who are unnecessarily being denied medical care. The Legislature’s failure this session to expand Medicaid is hurting about 200,000 low-income Missouri residents.

Expanded Medicaid means expanded health insurance for many. Isn’t it time the same empathy used in passing the chemo pill law be applied to ease the suffering of the working poor?

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