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Speaker`s wife wants insurance coverage for cancer trials

Al Musella's Comments: (This is his personal views and are not necessarily the views of the Musella Foundation!)


Posted on: 03/04/2007

Speaker's wife wants insurance coverage for cancer trials

Associated Press

The wife of Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted is among those pushing lawmakers to approve legislation that would require health insurers to pay some costs associated with clinical cancer trials.

The payments would cover services that insurers pay for when a cancer patient chooses a standard treatment.

Tina Husted said her father, who fought brain cancer for four years and died in November, participated in six clinical trials because his insurance covered the costs. But she said she has met other cancer patients who haven't been able to participate in trials because their insurance didn't cover them.

"He truly believed in this. He believed in the research," Husted said of her father in testimony before the Cancer Caucus, a group of legislators interested in the disease, many because they have lost a loved one to cancer.

Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Steve Stivers, a Columbus Republican, is working on a bill that would require coverage for routine blood tests or doctor visits, but not for experimental drugs or tests for research purposes, which are paid for by the trial sponsor.

Stivers said he's encountering resistance from some health insurance companies.

Twenty states and Medicare already have similar requirements.

"We are trying to figure out how to get it done," Stivers said. "It seems silly to me that we allow (insurance companies) to avoid these expenses just because someone is going through a clinical trial."

Jon Husted declined Wednesday to offer an opinion on the issue. Senate President Bill Harris had not seen the proposal, a spokeswoman said.

Rep. Lynn Watchmann, a Napoleon Republican, said he questioned whether insurance companies should be forced to pay for some costs of clinical trials that rarely produce a medication that goes to the market.

Dr. Michael Grever, chairman of internal medicine at Ohio State University Medical Center, said he often finds patients who want to participate in clinical trials but can't because of insurance issues.

"(Insurance companies) would rather pay for you to get standard chemotherapy, even if your cancer is marching right through it," he said.

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