91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Michigan House advances bill on expanding health insurance coverage for oral chemotherapy

Supporters say taking oral chemotherapy has many benefits over IV forms of chemo.
Pavel Ivanov/BestForYou - stock.adobe.com
Adobe Stock
Supporters say taking oral chemotherapy has many benefits over IV forms of chemo.

The Michigan House passed a bill in late May that would make oral chemotherapy more affordable.

Michigan is one of a few states with hefty out-of-pocket fees for certain oral anti-cancer medications.

Supporters say these high costs are a barrier to care for many patients.

Molly Medenblik is the Government Relations Director for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

She said oral chemotherapy gives patients more flexibility than injectable or intravenous (IV) methods.

"You can take it at home, you don't have to go to a facility for hours and sit there for hours with the IV, and a lot of times you can keep working so you don't have to potentially lose income or your job," said Medenblik. "There is a lot of mental and physical well-being that is improved by oral chemo."

The bill's sponsor, Representative Samantha Steckloff (D-Farmington Hills), echoed a similar perspective when she spoke about her own cancer diagnosis on the House floor.

"My blood draws were done throughout my body, my neck, my upper thigh, my foot; we've tried it in between toes, in between nails," said Steckloff. "There was a year's worth of work that I had to miss for IV chemo treatment that would've never been an issue if oral treatment was available."

Similar bills have been proposed before, but none have advanced past the Senate.

Critics argue that this legislation would only benefit a small number of people while increasing premiums for everyone.

But Medenblik said this bill would still cover quite a few people in Michigan.

"Even if it was only a few people, that is still your family, that is still your loved one, that is still going to make a huge difference within that person's life," said Medenblik.

Steckloff said bringing down the costs of oral chemotherapy would drastically improve the quality of life for many cancer patients.

"Using oral chemo allows you to fight with dignity and grace and live a real life," said Steckloff.

Both Medenblik and Steckloff said they were confident that the bill will pass through the Senate this time around.

Priya Vijayakumar started her Newsroom Internship in January 2023. She is interested in science/health reporting and making the facts more accessible to all!
Related Content