Legislation proposed to make breast cancer treatment cheaper

Published 3:54 pm Thursday, August 6, 2020

Legislation proposed for the 2021 General Assembly would make breast cancer treatment more affordable for patients by removing financial restraints that currently keep them from accessing care.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Kim Banta, R-Ft. Mitchell, would require that the federal Department for Medicaid Services exempt individuals who have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer from meeting spend-down requirements to be eligible for Medicaid services.

The spend down requirements affect those who have income or assets in excess of what is allowed to qualify for Medicaid, and would serve almost like a deductible, before Medicaid takes over payment.

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“Metastatic breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that takes people’s lives every day,” Banta said. “Individuals dealing with this devastating disease should not be burdened by meeting cumbersome bureaucratic requirements when trying to access care.  The patient’s sole focus should be on their recovery and health, and I believe we should do everything in our power to eliminate financial restraints associated with accessing treatment.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women in the United States. In Kentucky, female breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer by the rate of new cases.  The American Cancer Society estimates there will be 3,800 new cases of female breast cancer this year.

“We know that this horrible disease is unfortunately all too common—especially in Kentucky,” Banta noted. “This prevalence is what makes this issue so critical. I look forward to discussing this important issue with my colleagues in the coming months.”

If signed into law, this proposal would require the approval of a Medicaid state plan amendment from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who are the administrators of the program.

The 2021 General Assembly will convene in January. Details of Banta’s proposal can be found here.