Bill could expand cancer treatment option to more Georgians

House Bill 85 would expand access to a lifesaving tool that can pinpoint what type of treatment a patient needs.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:13 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - House Bill 85 in the Georgia legislature would expand access to a lifesaving tool that can pinpoint what type of treatment a patient needs, so they won’t waste any of their precious time.

The test uses blood and tissue to identify the best type of treatment for the patient, like chemo, radiation or pills. It’s proven to help patients live longer.

Jaymie Knox is a cancer patient, turned biomarker testing advocate.

“To go in there with what I thought was maybe pneumonia, which I kind of let run a little bit too long. And I came out with a stage four lung cancer diagnosis. It threw everything into like a 180 tailspin,” said Knox.

For Jamie, the testing was covered by her insurance. According to the American Cancer Society, more than half of the insurance companies in Georgia don’t cover biomarker testing, which falls below national clinical guidelines.

“As the patient, the load should not be on us to ask for biomarker testing or to know that it’s something that we need to have done, the doctor should just automatically go ahead and do that.

“That’s like, you know, going to a restaurant and asking for your food, and they bring it to you, in your hand instead of putting it on a plate. And then when you ask them why they’re giving it to you in your hand, you say, oh, you didn’t ask for a plate? I don’t know that. Why would I need to ask you for a plate, it should be standard, you know,” said Knox.

The American Cancer Society is one of more than 40 organizations supporting the bill. Julie Vojtech with the American Cancer Society said that according to studies, the cost is minimal at just 50 cents a month on your insurance.

“Now who wouldn’t pay an additional 50 cents if you could have back somebody that you love who died from cancer? If I could have my daddy or my best friend back who died of cancer, of course,” said Vojtech.

Similar legislation has been passed in Arizona, Illinois, Rhode Island and Louisiana. More than a dozen states are considering similar laws.