Cancer Treatment Fairness Act makes its way to the Senate

- A cancer bill passed the House 90-22 Monday night, and will now make its way to the Senate.

The Cancer Treatment Fairness Act would make oral cancer therapies more affordable.

"We are very committed to getting this bill passed," said Neel Stallings, a two-time cancer survivor.

A 20 year volunteer for the Susan G. Koman Charlotte Organization, Stallings said it's time for the legislation to become law.

"I have been involved in trying to get this passed for a number of years," said Stallings. "And it's important to me because I work with fellow survivors and I see the burden of these oral medicines -- the cost burden -- placed on patients and they can't afford it."

The new rules would put North Carolina insurance regulations in line with modern day cancer care by requiring health plans to cover oral anti-cancer treatments in the same way IV therapies are covered.

"With HB206, it brings equity to oral chemo or oral anti-cancer therapies just like the IV treatment," said Stallings.

Which right now, isn't the case.

"When patients are prescribed these oral anti-cancer therapies, quite often they have to pay a lot more than the IV therapies," Stallings said. "And I've known people who have had to pay $600 a month or $1,200 a month as a co-insurance -- and that's usually on the low end of things."

Which, she said, many people simply can't afford.

"And when you have to decide whether to put food on the table for your family or pay money for an oral anti-cancer therapy -- normally,you choose putting food on the table."

Forty-two states, plus D.C., have already passed Cancer Treatment Fairness Acts.

"It's time for North Carolina to do the same," Stallings said.

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