Contact your California Assemblymember and Senator and tell them to support cancer care equity. It will take just a few minutes of your time:
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Tell them that you support Cancer Care Equity and SB 987. Your voice matters!
Fighting for Cancer Care Equity in California
For too long, too many patients—especially those historically underserved—have been denied the opportunity to equally benefit from the latest advancements in cancer care. Recognition of these disparities in access and the connection between access and survival is the first step on a path toward more equitable, more effective cancer care for all of Californians.
- Californians insured with Medi-Cal suffer much worse-than-average outcomes for several cancer diagnoses, including lung cancer, and breast cancer.
- 34% of cancer deaths among all U.S. adults ages 25 to 74 could be prevented if socioeconomic disparities were eliminated.
- Patients receiving care from designated specialists saw a 53% reduction in the odds of early mortality.
The California Cancer Care Equity Act (SB 987) would ensure Californians on Medi-Cal who receive a complex cancer diagnosis have the choice to seek treatment at a comprehensive cancer center, increasing the number of Californians able to benefit from emerging therapies, clinical trials, and cancer doctors specializing in a particular type of cancer.
The complex cancer diagnoses covered include leukemia, multiple myeloma, certain lymphomas, pancreatic cancer, advanced stage lung cancer, advanced stage prostate cancer, advanced stage breast cancer, sarcomas, and liver and biliary cancer.
The California Cancer Care Equity Act (SB 987) advances the rights affirmed by the California state legislature when it unanimously passed the California Cancer Patients Bill of Rights resolution in 2021. It recognizes that cancer care is different, and that the current one-size-fits-most system is preventing too many California cancer patients from accessing optimal care.
Less than half of California cancer patients received care aligned with national guidelines. With some 187,000 Californians expected to be diagnosed with cancer each year, increasing access to the optimal treatment for a patient’s diagnosis is critical – and can save lives.
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The California Cancer Care Equity Act (SB 987) would:
- Move away from a system that too often incentivizes the wrong care and connects cancer patients to care too late, shortening lives and ultimately increasing costs. Instead, this proposal embraces a model that delivers speed to innovation and access for patients with cancer and their families, helping the state ultimately deliver better outcomes and reduce inefficient spending on lower-value care in its Medi-Cal program.
- Require Medi-Cal managed care plans make available to enrollees the services of a National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center by expanding the existing set of care diagnoses for which such enhanced access is provided to complex cancer diagnoses.
- Require Medi-Cal managed care providers to inform enrollees of their eligibility to receive enhanced care and ensures primary care doctors in contract with those managed care providers inform enrollees with any information they need to decide between relevant treatment options.
- Require that decisions to approve, deny, or modify a patient’s request for optimal care are made within 72 hours to shorten the window between diagnosis and treatment.
- Provide that the NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center providing services would be reimbursed by the beneficiary’s Medi-Cal managed care plan equal to what would be paid for those services in the Medi-Cal fee-for-service delivery system.