State Senator Patricia Bates Leads the Fight for Anticancer Treatment Coverage in California

With the political divide throughout the country at the forefront of American politics, it is rare to see overwhelming support behind legislation across both parties. In 2019, the California State Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan bill that would guarantee anticancer medical device coverage to Californians with insurance already covering basic cancer treatment. The bill would go into effect on January 1, 2020. State Senator Patricia Bates of the 36th district proposed the bill.

With the recent discovery and breakthrough of “Tumor Treating Fields” (TTF), a newfound therapy used to treat solid tumor cancers, the bill officially gives a definition to this form of anticancer which was not previously found in the California legislature.

The treatment was approved by the FDA to use on patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with no known cure. It was approved under the pre-market approval process for Class III medical devices. Afterward, the California Department of Managed Health Care came to the conclusion that anticancer medical devices should be covered by insurance providers. The support from these institutions played a pivotal role in the passing of this bill.

Senator Bates introduced the bill to the State Senate and received overwhelming bipartisan support. Republicans, in particular, worked extensively to pass the bill, so each Californian would receive the health benefits they deserve. They also made it easily accessible for Democrats to support the bill, and in return received a positive response.

“No one should be denied access to a potentially life-saving anticancer treatment due to the lack of clarity in state law,” said Senator Bates. “My bill will update the law to ensure that more cancer patients can receive the treatment they need. I thank my Senate colleagues for their strong support of my bill and I hope to see the same support in the Assembly.”

As Senate Bill 746 makes its way to the State Assembly, Republicans continue to emphasize the importance of this issue. With more clear and concise legislation, insured citizens will receive the basic treatment coverage consistent with the benefits of insurance providers. This bill paves the way for more bipartisan measures, which will ensure the focus of the government on its people.


Photo by Ken Treloar

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