Quick Takes

Kentucky governor signs biomarker testing for cancer patients into law 

By: - March 23, 2023 1:10 pm

Gov. Andy Beshear signs House Bill 180 into law. (Screenshot) (Photo: Screenshot)

Starting Jan. 1, Kentucky health plans will have to cover biomarker testing, which advocates have said can improve the state’s cancer statistics. 

The General Assembly passed — and Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday signed into law — House Bill 180, which received bipartisan support during this legislative session. 

Beshear called the legislation “another step forward in our mission to expand health care access” in the state. 

“I believe health care is a basic human right,” Beshear said. “And this bill is going to help a lot of people.” 

Biomarker testing “is a way to look for genes, proteins, and other substances (called biomarkers or tumor markers) that can provide information about cancer. Each person’s cancer has a unique pattern of biomarkers,” according to the National Cancer Institute

Primary sponsor Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, said the testing “will save money” and “will save lives.”

“It will mitigate the long-term health effects that we see from cancer treatments that may or may not work,” Moser said at the signing. 

The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 10,000 Kentuckians will die from cancer this year and 30,000 will be diagnosed with the disease. Kentucky is one of the worst states in the nation for cancer mortality, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“I know that we’ve all been touched by cancer here in Kentucky,” Moser said. But HB180, she said, will get “the right treatment at the right time to the right patient.” 

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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, COVID-19 and more.