A bill signed in Arizona requires health insurers and the state’s Medicaid plan to pay for biomarker tests that are needed for many modern cancer treatments. The legislation’s signing was hailed by the American Cancer Society, which called biomarker testing a critical step in assessing precision cancer treatments. Measuring the presence of certain biomarkers such as gene mutations allows doctors to better target certain cancers and can lead to fewer side effects and better quality of life and survival rates.
More than 60 percent of oncology drugs require or recommend biomarker use. Along with this, many cancer clinical trials require biomarkers. It was opposed by several major health insurers and their national association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. It was supported by several major hospitals, pharmaceutical, testing companies, the Mayo Clinic, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the Cancer Society. The bill overwhelmingly passed into legislation.