Friends, family and supporters,

Who hasn’t been touched in some way by cancer during their life? It’s a horrible, debilitating disease that strikes indiscriminately and all too often isn’t detected in its early stages, meaning time may be running short for cancer victims.

Today, we took the first step in fighting back. With a full house in the committee hearing room, I introduced and the House Health Committee passed two critical, life-saving pieces of legislation with two unanimous votes. The outpouring of support for these bills was amazing with literally dozens of supporters filling the hearing room. All the seats were filled, and people were packed in like sardines along the aisles.

The first bill, HB2078, known as the Fair Access to Cancer Treatment or FACT Act, requires insurance companies to provide the same coverage for oral anti-cancer drugs as they do for intravenous chemotherapy treatments. Currently, IV treatments are covered under the medical benefit portion of insurance plans while oral chemotherapy is treated as a prescription benefit with big out-of-pocket costs for patients potentially reaching into the thousand of dollars per month. Passage was made possible by a broad coalition of supporters including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and over 20 other community-based organizations.

In addition, House Resolution 2008 will proclaim the first Friday of September each year as “Ovarian Cancer Awareness Day” in our state. Every 24 minutes, a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the US. Ovarian cancer is the most lethal form of all gynecological cancers. Additional research is needed for ovarian cancer and the first step is making the public more aware of the disease and treatment options.

But there is still plenty more work to be done. While we’ve made great advances in just the first month of the 2014 Legislative Session, we still have a long way to go.

I always appreciate hearing from constituents. Your emails and phone calls go a long way so keep them coming!