The CLINCIAL TREATMENT Act guarantees coverage of the routine care costs of clinical trial participation for Medicaid enrollees with life-threatening conditions.
It is essential that all lung cancer patients are aware of and have access to clinical trials, research studies designed to learn more about how our bodies respond to drugs or other treatments. Clinical trials serve as a pathway to accessing life-saving therapies and drugs in clinical development and are a critical part of a lung cancer patient’s treatment journey. Clinical trials can be the best treatment options for some patients today, particularly in lung cancer, a disease with a rapidly evolving field of treatment options.
Despite this, Medicaid, the government healthcare program that insures nearly one-fifth of the US population, was not required by federal law to provide coverage for routine costs of participation in a clinical trial. Routine costs include non-experimental costs of treating a patient, such as the cost of physician visits or lab tests, which would be incurred regardless of whether a patient participates in a clinical trial. Unfortunately, these out-of-pocket costs and gaps in coverage can be barriers to participation for many affected by lung cancer, resulting in studies that might not be representative of the population the treatments being studied are for.
Thanks to Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), who introduced the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act, these costs are now required to be covered by Medicaid. LUNGevity supported this bill and was pleased Congress prioritized patients by signing the CLINICAL TREATMENT Act into law in late 2020. We believe the Act will lessen the barriers to clinical trial participation for patients who have historically been under-represented in trials due to their race, ethnicity, and/or socioeconomic status and help provide access to high-quality treatment for all.