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style="font-size: 12px;">Illinois Medicaid recipients are now eligible to participate in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer and other serious diseases.
The new legislation required the state’s Medicaid program to cover costs for approved clinical trials involving prevention, detection and treatment of cancer. Initially introduced by state Sen. Andy Manar, the initiative was included in a broader health care package passed by the General Assembly in May.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that this law will save lives," Manar said. "For too long, some people were granted access to the most advanced and potentially life-saving cancer treatment, and others weren’t, simply depending on which insurance plan they had."
Shana Crews, government relations director with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, said the legislation will not come with added costs.
“It is actually cost neutral because Medicaid has to cover it because of your diagnosis if you are not in a trial, so by enrolling in a trial there’s no increased financial risk for the state,” Crews said.
More than 20 percent of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid, making it the second-largest type of insurance behind Medicare.
“Governor Pritzker and the legislature have taken an important step to ensure the viability of new cancer research in our state and to allow an additional 20% of Illinois residents to have access to these new, potentially lifesaving treatments and therapies,” Crews said.