State Advocacy on Cancer Policy Priorities

April 3, 2018
Leaders from the Indiana Oncology Society met with Governor Eric Holcomb’s office

Leaders from the Indiana Oncology Society met with Governor Eric Holcomb’s office

The majority of state legislatures across the country are currently in session, and over the past several months, ASCO and state societies have continued to partner to ensure lawmakers understand how policies will impact the cancer care delivery system:

Alaska: ASCO and the Denali Oncology Group (DOG) issued a statement to the Alaska House Judiciary Committee in opposition to a right-to-try bill, HB 43. The organizations stated that they “appreciate Alaska’s efforts to support patients but are concerned that, while well intentioned, HB 43 will not [improve] patient access.” The bill was then transferred to the House Rules Committee and placed on the bottom of the calendar.

Hawaii: The President of the Hawaii Society of Clinical Oncology (HSCO) testified before the Hawaii House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on SB 2646, which would have required prescribers to review the Hawaii prescription drug monitoring program prior to prescribing a controlled substance, even for refills for known patients receiving ongoing treatment. After HSCO’s testimony, SB 2646 was amended to allow for periodic review. The measure awaits further consideration in the House Committee on Judiciary.

Indiana: Robin Zon, MD, FACP, Chair of ASCO’s Government Relations Committee; Ahad Sadiq, MD, President of the Indiana Oncology Society (IOS); and John Edwards, MD, Past President of IOS, met with Governor Eric Holcomb’s office to discuss a variety of priority policy issues, including opioids, Medicaid, prescription drug donation programs, and state cancer caucuses.

Maryland Passes Fertility Legislation: Maryland was the first state in 2018 to pass fertility preservation legislation on March 29. ASCO and the Maryland and D.C. Society of Clinical Oncology (MDCSCO) sent letters in support of SB 271 and companion bill HB 908 earlier this year. Several other states are considering similar legislation that align with ASCO’s fertility preservation guidelines. ASCO partnered with state societies, including the Delaware Society for Clinical Oncology (DSCO), the Empire State Hematology and Oncology Society (ESHOS), the Louisiana Oncology Society (LOS), the Missouri Oncology Society (MOS), the Medical Oncology Society of New Jersey (MOSNJ) and the Kentucky Association of Medical Oncology (KAMO), to support legislation in each state.

Rhode Island and Washington: ASCO worked with the Rhode Island Clinical Oncologists (RICO) and the Washington State Medical Oncology Society (WSMOS) to send letters in support of bills to raise the legal age of tobacco purchase in their respective states. Washington's bill passed the House, but the Senate adjourned before a vote could take place. Rhode Island’s legislature has not yet taken action on the bill.

ASCO members can use the State ACT Network to learn more about cancer policy issues under consideration in their states and to advocate on issues that could affect cancer care and the practice of oncology.

Follow ASCO in Action for the news and updates on federal and state policy issues.