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Michigan Lawmaker introduces Bill requiring State Health Plans to Cover cutting-edge Cancer Treatments

A plan that would force health insurance companies in the state to pay for innovative cancer treatments—even if they aren’t classified as “cancer drugs”—was proposed by a state senator from Michigan.

State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Mich.) on Tuesday revealed his new law in a video on X, formerly known as Twitter. Building on an existing law, the proposed legislation would require health insurance companies to cover cancer medications.

Irwin’s new measure makes it clear that insurance has to pay for therapy if it was FDA-approved and recommended by a doctor to treat cancer.

The law also clearly specifies that some innovative new therapies, such as “genetic therapy and immunotherapy,” which it claims “includes, but is not limited to CAR-T cell therapy,” must be covered.

Irwin brought up a ProPublica piece that detailed a 50-year-old father’s struggle with an insurance company toward the end of his life when he announced the bill.

"I was informed of a horrible case in Michigan where an individual was denied gene therapies by their health insurer, based on the idea that the law didn't require covering gene therapies, only, quote-unquote, cancer drugs," Irwin stated in his video. "Recently there have been some new cancer drugs hitting the market - biologics, gene therapies." "Sadly, this resident has passed away," he said. "They lost their fight with cancer, and now I'm introducing legislation to close that loophole and make it permanent that health insurance in Michigan must cover all cancer treatments."


The Hill has contacted Priority Health, the insurance provider, to get a statement.

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