Tuesday, May 18, 2010


LAFAYETTE - Gov. Bill Ritter today signed four pieces of legislation that will advance Colorado’s leadership in the fight against cancer, help women gain access to high-quality health care and prevent insurance companies from rewarding employees for denying claims or canceling policies.

“We have made great progress pursuing practical, common-sense changes to Colorado’s healthcare system, without waiting for Washington,” Gov. Ritter said. “These bills build on Colorado’s successes and will pay off in both the fiscal and personal health of our state and its residents. We are focusing on improving efficiencies and cost-savings, healthy living and wellness and making high-quality care available to more people.”

House Bill 1252 (Primavera/Schwartz & Boyd) protects women’s health by ensuring needed breast cancer screenings are covered by insurance plans.

“A mammogram saved my life and saves the lives of thousands every year,” said Rep. Dianne Primavera, a four-time cancer survivor. “This bill represents a chance for at-risk women to receive the preventative care they need.”

“This is an important bill the Governor signed today. Women should be empowered to work with their doctors to find the best preventative treatments,” Sen. Gail Schwartz said. “Colorado needs to support our women to make their own decisions and help doctors provide the best possible care.”

“The doctor-patient relationship is critical in these decisions,” Sen. Betty Boyd said. “Many of us have seen the courage that it takes to battle breast cancer. It is our duty to do everything we can to combat this disease, and our insurance coverage needs to reflect that priority. Early detection is essential in the fight against cancer and House Bill 1252 will ensure that we continue to do that.”

House Bill 1355 (Gagliardi/Kopp) prohibits an insurer from denying coverage for cancer treatment drugs on the basis that the drug has not been approved for the specific type of cancer being treated.

“This bill ensures cancer patients are not delayed in getting the best treatment possible,” said Rep. Sara Gagliardi, a licensed practical nurse. “Cancer patients, working with their doctors, should be given the benefit of being treated with a medicine that may have a different prescribed use but has nonetheless been proven to work for their type of cancer. Ultimately choosing appropriate meds and treatments are decisions to be made between a patient and their health care provider, not the government.”

“This bill will give cancer patients more choice when being treated,” Sen. Mike Kopp said. “It is unacceptable to let bureaucracy and red tape stifle treatment.”

Senate Bill 76 (M. Carroll/Primavera) prohibits an insurance company from providing a financial incentive based on the number of policies canceled or the number of times coverage is denied.

"Wrongful denials and delays of medical claims have been the top complaints against insurance companies for five years running,” Sen. Morgan Carroll said. “Senate Bill 76 protects consumers from insurance companies actually paying financial incentives to encourage denial of those claims and prohibits insurance companies from putting profits over people's health."

“The only thing worse than being sick and having your health care coverage canceled, is the idea that some claims-employee on the other end of a phone was given a bonus to make that decision,” said Rep. Primavera. “Colorado consumers should get what they pay for and not be denied their paid-for coverage. This bill is so obviously the moral and right thing to do.”

Senate Bill 117 (Foster/ Primavera) allows Medicaid consumers to have more access to less expensive medications.

“By guaranteeing over-the-counter medications are covered by Medicaid, we are granting patients greater access to affordable medicine,” Sen. Joyce Foster said. “This just makes sense. I’m proud to see the Governor sign this bill into law today.”

“This bill makes it easier for a patient to get the specific cough syrup, decongestant, or other over-the-counter medication they need quickly and efficiently, just by visiting their local pharmacy,” said Rep. Primavera. “Taking cough syrup at the onset could prevent pneumonia and a costly hospital stay. This bill will save taxpayers’ hard earned money.”

For a complete list of Gov. Ritter’s 2010 legislation decisions, visit www.colorado.gov/governor

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