Senator Paul Rosino of Oklahoma City wins full Senate approval for biomarker bill
Oklahoma City – The full Senate has given overwhelming approval to legislation to help more Oklahomans access medical biomarker tests. Senate Bill 513 was written by Sen. Paul Rosino, R-Oklahoma City, chair of the Senate’s Health and Human Services Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
In a press release sent to CapitolBeatOK.com, Rosino said biomarker testing is critical for planning treatments that can lead to longer lives and better quality of life for patients, but insurance coverage has not kept pace with these innovations.
“Biomarker testing has proven to be a game-changer, particularly for cancer. These tests can tell doctors how fast or slow growing certain cancers are, which treatments will give the best outcomes, and which treatments won’t be helpful,” Rosino said.
“But you must have access to these tests at the very start before any chemo or radiation is given that changes those cells. Getting this bill through the Legislature and signed into law is going to help save lives.”
Rosino said while biomarker tests have proven to be an important step for accessing precision medicine, including targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer, these tests are also increasingly important for the treatment of other diseases, such as arthritis and other autoimmune conditions and rare diseases, with additional research underway for its use in Alzheimer’s, other neurological conditions, cardiology, and more.
“Unfortunately, 66 percent of oncology providers reported that insurance coverage has been a significant or moderate barrier to appropriate biomarker testing for their patients,” Rosino said.
“But the largest insurance group for state employees estimated the cost would only be 14 to 23 cents a month per employee. I contend this will actually save money in the long run by helping patients get the most effective treatment from the beginning, addressing disease more quickly and extending and saving lives.”
S.B. 513 now moves to the House of Representatives. The principal House author is Representative Nicole Miller, R-Edmond.