Congresswoman Angie Craig Pushes for Fair Health Insurance Coverage

June 4, 2019
Press Release
Rep. Craig cosponsors bill to ensure equality of insurance coverage for cancer patients

After hearing from cancer patients, survivors, families and healthcare providers during her Healthcare Listening Tour, U.S. Rep. Angie Craig reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring Minnesotans living with cancer get the treatment they need.

That’s why she is announcing today that she is cosponsoring H.R.1730, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, a bipartisan bill that would ensure cancer patients receive equal coverage for treatment across insurance plans.

Oral chemotherapy is becoming a common standard of care for patients with many types of cancer, and most of these medications do not have viable alternatives. However, because health insurance plans currently cover different cancer treatments unequally, many cancer patients are forced to pay for these life-saving medications out of pocket. This bill would require health insurance plans to cover cancer treatment methods equally and give families peace of mind when deciding on their treatment plan.

“People in the Second District dealing with a cancer diagnosis have enough to worry about without the added stress of figuring out whether or not their insurance will cover their treatment,” said Rep.  Craig. “I’m proud to support the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act to make sure every treatment option is covered equally so patients are able to make the treatment plan that is best for them.”

“Pioneering research in precision medicine is transforming the way cancer is treated. Even with these breakthroughs, far too many cancer patients face burdensome out-of-pocket costs and cannot access their treatments because insurance rules have not kept pace with innovation,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., President and CEO of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “The Cancer Drug Parity Act will ensure that patients across the country experience the same cost-sharing for all cancer treatments, allowing cancer patients to have equal access to the treatments recommended by their physicians. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society thanks Rep. Craig for cosponsoring this important bill on behalf of cancer patients.”

“The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) supports the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, which will help to increase patients access to lifesaving cancer treatments,” said Emily Myatt, Minnesota Government Relations Director for ACS CAN. “This legislation would make sure that patients who are prescribed oral chemotherapy drugs by their doctors would not pay a higher copay than if they had received intravenous chemotherapy. ACS CAN thanks Rep.  Craig for her support of this important legislation.”

Rep. Craig has also cosponsored H.R.1570, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act which would waive Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements for the removal of polyps or tissue during colorectal screenings. She has also signed numerous bipartisan letters to boost cancer research, including a requested increase for the National Institutes of Health ($41.6 billion) and National Cancer Institute. Rep. Craig is a strong supporter of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense, and joined with many of her colleagues to support funding for continued research into peer-reviewed breast, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.