Headlines & Helpful Information, Advocacy
By: Molly Guthrie
There’s been a lot of
news lately. So much news that if you haven’t been following every headline,
every day of the week, you might have missed something.
But that’s why I’m here. As the Director
of Public Policy and Advocacy here at Susan G. Komen, I’ve been working on
state and federal policy at Komen for more than a decade now. But my passion
for advocating for those impacted by breast cancer has been with me for much
Here’s some important
news that you might have missed:
Congress has already
passed three bills responding to and providing relief from COVID-19, and it is
debating the next one right now.
Susan G. Komen has asked Congress to include chemotherapy parity –
a longstanding priority for cancer patients – in the next bill.
Oral parity would require the price of the chemotherapy you use to
cost the same, regardless of if it’s a pill you take at home or through an IV
at a health care facility. Due to outdated insurance design, oral therapies are
more expensive because they are handled as a prescription.
But there are many benefits to taking chemotherapy by pill: for
breast cancer patients who live in rural areas or far from a health care
facility, they wouldn’t have to drive long distances for their chemotherapy
treatment; for patients with compromised immune systems, they wouldn’t have to
go in-person for their treatment and risk exposure to germs or viruses.
COVID-19 has made oral chemotherapy even more important as
patients are encouraged to stay home. That’s why we’re asking Congress to take action on chemotherapy parity amid the
COVID-19 crisis so that more patients can afford to take their treatment at
home, while protecting themselves from potential exposure the virus.
Along the same lines of being able to access care at home, we were
thrilled to see the recent expansion of telehealth services, including for
those with breast cancer.
Telehealth has historically been limited to certain
conditions and for certain types of appointments. The federal government
largely lifted those restrictions after the public health emergency was
declared due to COVID-19.
These changes have meant that some visits with your
doctor can be done through a video conference using a phone or computer. This is a significant improvement for those
in active cancer treatment who have compromised immune systems and could be
putting themselves at risk during in-person appointments.
And earlier this month, more changes were made to
allow audio-only telehealth appointments. This is also very important because
many people do not have access to devices with a video feature.
While we applaud these changes, focus is beginning to shift to how
this will affect cancer care and the healthcare system long-term.
Now, more than
ever, it is critical that you share your voice and insist it be heard.
Lawmakers must hear what is important to those impacted by breast cancer.
If you aren’t
already, sign-up to become a Komen Advocacy Insider. All you have to do
is text COVIDACTION to 40649, and you’ll start getting updates from us.
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