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Making Your Voices Heard

April 19, 2016

Maine Breast Cancer Survivors and Advocates Call on Congress to Maintain Commitment to Research Funding, Breast Health Care and Treatment Access

Susan G. Komen® Advocates Stress Importance of Access to Cancer Screening, Ensuring Treatment Parity

Bangor, Maine. (April 19, 2016) – Local advocates representing Susan G. Komen Maine Affiliate traveled to the nation’s capital April 14, joining over a hundred breast cancer advocates from across the country to remind our nation’s leaders of the importance of federal cancer research funding and access to cancer screening programs — and to call on policy makers to ensure parity of insurance coverage between oral chemotherapy and traditional IV treatments. 

            “As the health care system continues to evolve, we cannot forget that many people continue to rely on vital safety net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program,” said Victoria Abbott, Executive Director. “We cannot step back from our commitment to ensuring access to quality breast cancer screening and treatment.”

While on Capitol Hill for the day, the Maine Affiliate delegation met with Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Bruce Poliquin, and joined other delegations from across Maine to meet with Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Angus King.

They urged lawmakers to invest in biomedical research by increasing funding for the National Institutes of Health to $34.5 billion, including $5.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute, in FY2017.

In addition to research, the Komen representatives stressed the importance of maintaining the government’s commitment to vital safety-net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.  They also stressed the importance of ensuring parity between the way insurance covers oral chemotherapy, which often is governed by prescription drug benefit rules, and traditional IV treatments, which often have lower co-pays. 

“Many new cancer drugs are out of reach for patients because of outdated insurance rules that class them as specialty drugs under their prescription drug benefits, requiring significant out-of-pocket costs for patients. Conversely, IV treatments fall under the patient’s medical benefits since they are administered at the hospital, and involve lower cost-sharing,” said Victoria.  “Treatment decisions should be made by patients and their doctor based on what is the best medical option – not by which treatment protocol is less likely to bankrupt them based on insurance rules that haven’t kept pace with science.”  

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For additional information about the Maine Affiliate of Susan G. Komen, visit their website at www.komenmaine.org or find them on Facebook (facebook.com/komenmaine) and Twitter (@komenmaine).