Assemblyman Thiele Calls on Governor Hochul to Sign Biomarker Testing Bill S.1196-A/A.1673-A

Albany, New York – Today, NYS Assemblyman Thiele called on Governor Hochul to sign into law S.1196-A/A1673-A, which passed the Senate and Assembly in June with bipartisan support. The bill would require state-regulated health insurance plans, including Medicaid, to cover biomarker testing when supported by medical and scientific evidence. There are more than sixty-five organizations supporting this bill.

Biomarker testing has become a revolutionary part of cancer care and determining the best treatment for other serious and life-threatening conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, preeclampsia, and Parkinson’s. Despite the proven benefits, many insurers fail to keep pace with innovations and advancements in biomarker testing. As a result, some patients must decide whether to pay out-of-pocket or go without the testing that may connect them with lifesaving treatment or help them avoid unnecessary or ineffective treatments. Moreover, people of color, individuals with lower incomes, and rural communities are disproportionately left behind from these advancements, and the current system of medical inequity is exacerbated.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network describes the bill as an incredibly important step toward improving access to biomarker testing and ensuring that patients get the right medicine at the right time. “The only thing that is standing between New Yorkers and the care they deserve is the lack of Governor Hochul’s signature on Senate Bill 1196a / Assembly Bill 1673a,” said Michael Davoli, a Senior Government Relations Director of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

The New York Health Plan Association, which represents the health plans that provide coverage to over eight million New Yorkers, stated that the bill “takes a balanced approach of utilizing biomarker testing to inform the best treatment of care for patients through safe and effective testing that is supported by nationally recognized clinical guidelines.”

Twelve other states have already enacted comprehensive, disease-agnostic biomarker testing bills nearly identical to the one the providers, patients and advocates are calling on Governor Hochul to sign.

In 2023, approximately 31,320 New Yorkers will die from cancer, and countless more will suffer from a disease – the side effects of which could be mitigated by biomarker testing. Improved access to biomarker testing can make it so that fewer New Yorkers are lost to cancer and suffer from their illnesses.