In July 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill (S.B.) 1864. The bill provides coverage for cancer clinical trials for Medicaid beneficiaries as part of a larger health care package. Specifically, the state will be required to cover costs routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease if it would normally be covered for a non-clinical procedure. Introduced as a stand-alone bill by State Senator Andy Manar and Representative Camille Lilly, S.B. 1864 was an amendment within a larger health care package which included the clinical trial language. The efforts were heavily backed and organized by advocacy groups such as the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Illinois Medical Oncology Society (IMOS) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
More than 20 percent of Illinois residents are covered by Medicaid. Routine costs outside of clinical trials are often covered, so including coverage during clinical trials would have a minimal impact on cost. This provision will not only reduce the cancer burden in Illinois, but also help to ensure that vulnerable populations are accurately represented in clinical trial data. Cost prohibitions, such as the lack of coverage for routine care costs, can limit participation of marginalized groups in clinical trials. Addressing this gap can help foster scientific discovery and progress against cancer.
Illinois Government Relations Director
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc. (ACS CAN)