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Milestone for Mississippi

Posted by lynnesmith in The LLS Blog, 01 April 2015 · 116 views

Mississippi is on its way to becoming the 38th state to adopt an oral parity law – hopefully ending a financial disparity that treats orally and IV administered cancer therapies differently.

Passionate patient advocates like Jennifer Burrell-Richards helped move the bill along by speaking out on this critical access issue for fair cost-sharing. Diagnosed with multiple myeloma, Burrell-Richards must pick up a monthly cost of $1,300 for her oral anti-cancer medicine. Instead of being charged a fixed co-pay each month, she is struggling to pay a 20 percent co-insurance. This new law will help her better afford the cost of her treatment, which she expects to be on for the rest of her life.

During a press conference prior to the bill’s Senate committee passage, Burrell-Richards said “I’m just a regular person, a mom, trying to survive with cancer.”

The bill would require health insurance plans to provide more equitable coverage for orally-administered anti-cancer medications.

The Mississippi Legislature overwhelmingly approved the bill yesterday and it is now on its way to Governor Bryant’s desk. In a surprising turn earlier in the session, the bill nearly died in the Senate Public Health Committee despite having just received near-unanimous support from the Mississippi House with a vote of 117-1. The bill was eventually passed out of committee to the Senate floor, where it was debated for more than an hour. The final vote was 48-3 with one abstention.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society led a coalition of patient advocate groups and industry partners to rally around the issue.

Mississippi would be the 38th state to adopt an oral parity law, following the recent signing of similar bills in West Virginia and South Dakota.

Attached Image
Jennifer Burrell-Richards speaks out on Mississippi's oral parity bill.

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