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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Strengthening Access to Healthcare for Cancer Patients

CHICAGO–(ENEWSPF)–July 11, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn today signed two pieces of legislation strengthening access to healthcare for cancer patients in Illinois. House Bill 1191 prohibits insurance companies from excluding coverage for related medical costs for patients participating in clinical cancer trials, and Senate Bill 1279, extends the “Carolyn Adams Ticket for the Cure” scratch-off lottery game until 2016.

“Access to quality healthcare is a basic right, and Illinoisans – particularly those who are fighting cancer – should not be denied coverage for participating in trials that might save their lives,” said Governor Quinn. “It is important that Illinois takes the lead in increasing women’s access to new science that can save lives.”

Many patients who qualify for clinical trials – and the potential benefits of these innovative therapies – cannot access them because their insurance plans do not cover the routine care they need while participating in the trial. These uncovered expenses include the costs of medical visits, hospitals stays, clinical lab tests, scans and x-rays. The new law amends the Illinois Insurance Code so that a group insurance policy cannot deny routine patient care to an insured patient participating in a qualified clinical cancer trial.

The lack of coverage for routine care has created a barrier to patient participation in clinical trials and limited access to additional treatment options for cancer. The cost barrier has led to lower participation rates for low-income and minority women in clinical trials.

House Bill 1191 was an initiative of Susan G. Komen Foundation. Sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Heather A. Steans (D-Chicago), the bill passed both houses unanimously. The new law takes effect Jan. 1, 2012.

Senate Bill 1279, sponsored by Sens. Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) and Reps. Constance A. Howard (D-Chicago) and Mary E. Flowers (D-Chicago), extends the “Ticket for the Cure” lottery scratch-off game an additional five years, until Dec. 31, 2016. The ticket was the first nationwide lottery scratch-off game to provide grants to non-profit organizations supporting breast cancer research and education. The ticket originally was scheduled to be discontinued at the end of 2011.

Launched in 2006, the ticket was renamed in honor of former Illinois Lottery Superintendent Carolyn Adams, who died of breast cancer in 2007 at age 44. More than 8,700 Illinois women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and more than 1,700 died as a result.

Source: illinois.gov

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