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Senate Unanimously Passes Hackett Bill Ensuring Timely Treatment for Cancer Patients

June 3, 2020
Bob D. Hackett News
COLUMBUS—The Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 252, sponsored by State Senators Bob Hackett (R-London) and Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus), prohibiting "fail first" coverage, commonly referred to as step therapy, of drugs used to treat stage four advanced metastatic cancer. Metastatic cancer is a form of cancer that has spread from its point of origin to other parts of the body including nearby tissues and lymph nodes. "This bill emanates empathy by helping patients and their families face one less challenge as they navigate a cancer diagnosis," said Hackett. "We believe that physicians should have the authority to employ the most effective and personalized treatment plans to fight advanced cancers." This legislation would prohibit a health benefit plan in Ohio – that directly or indirectly covers the treatment of stage four advanced metastatic cancer – from using a fail-first approach. In these scenarios, physicians prefer more-recent treatment plans to the first steps that insurers traditionally accept. Newer therapies tend to cost more up-front, but these therapies have the potential to save ongoing costs to insurance companies. Older treatments can result in overall higher medical cost because patients are required to “fail” on cheaper medications before they are permitted to follow their physicians’ original treatment plans. "Senate Bill 252 will remove barriers to treatment for Ohioans facing the most difficult time of their lives," said Craig. "With all the tough physical, emotional and financial challenges facing stage four cancer patients, they do not have time to fail first on cancer therapy." Senate Bill 252, also referred to as "Stephanie's Law," is inspired by Stephanie Kaylor, Senator Hackett’s longtime aide who lost her long-fought battle to cancer in December of 2019. Senate Bill 252 will now be sent to the House for further consideration.