I am a 15-year survivor of Stage IV non-smoker lung cancer thanks to a pill chemotherapy. But because my insurer didn’t cover the pill in the same way that they covered IV treatment, I had to sacrifice my financial future. I know I’m lucky that I had that option; many people don’t. And that’s not right!
Fortunately, we have an answer in Senate Bill 1034 that just passed overwhelmingly in the state Senate. SB 1034 will help patients like me because it will require equal coverage for all anti-cancer treatments, no matter what form they take — IV or a pill.
When I was diagnosed in 2004 after a day out hunting with my family, I found myself so sick that I couldn’t get out of bed. My wife called 9-1-1 and I ended up in the ICU for 14 days. My primary care doctor thought I had only days to live.
I endured weekly intravenous chemotherapy for over three years. Following that, my doctors put me on an oral chemotherapy treatment. That medication saved my life and I’ve been cancer free for 12 years. I beat the odds only because I managed to find the resources I needed when my insurance company didn’t cover the oncologist-prescribed treatment.
It’s time for Idaho to do this. Most other states have already passed similar laws. I ask our state representatives — please consider the fate of Idaho cancer patients and pass SB 1034.