Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pelosi's Bill Good For Domestic Violence Victims, Less So For Cancer Patients

I've been trying to follow the healthcare reform issue, especially now. While I'm happy about the DV issue, I am perturbed about the breast cancer drugs. I'm supposed to start taking Herceptin. What will my insurance company do in response? We've already had to fight about needed tests. Will we be fighting over needed drugs next? Here's information on the bill:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 1990-page health care reform bill has plenty of nuggets for supporters and detractors to debate. One topic the bill addresses in full is the insurance company practice of classifying victims of domestic violence as patients with a pre-existing condition and then denying them coverage. Pelosi's bill specifically and unequivocally bans the unconscionable practice.


A health insurance issuer offering health insurance coverage in the individual market may not, on the basis of domestic violence, impose any preexisting condition exclusion (as defined in section 2701(b)(1)(A)) with respect to such coverage. But the bill doesn't prohibit the equally abhorrent practice of classifying rape as a pre-existing condition.

One of the issues the bill doesn't address, however, is the problems patented medications cause for women suffering from breast cancer. Cancer survivor Jane Hamsher writes that Pelosi's acquiescence to provisions that provide extra-long patent monopolies to drug companies that discovered biologics, one of the newest waves of medical research, will hurt women. The extra patent terms mean that for one drug utilized with great success among breast cancer patients--Herceptin--Roche can continue to charge upwards of $70,000 for a course of treatment, causing patients to run up against their lifetime payment caps or fail to get the best treatment.

Sounds like some lobbying is needed to "fix" this problem!

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