02 March 2007

Speaker's Wife Advocates Insurance Coverage for Cancer Trials

Maybe she should be the one in politics...

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.

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.

“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.”

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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