Baker Receives Distinguished Advocacy Award from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
Local lawmaker continues to work on legislation to enhance public health, increase access to care for late-stage cancer patients
Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) was presented with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s (ACS CAN) Distinguished Advocacy Award in recognition of his legislation to ensure equal co-pay coverage for both oral and intravenous anti-cancer medications. Pictured with Baker are Paul Hull, managing director, ACS CAN northern region; Diane Phillips, director of government relations, ACS CAN Pennsylvania; and John Hoctor, vice president, government relations, east central division, ACS CAN.
HARRISBURG – In recognition of his hard-fought battle to get oral anti-cancer medications covered by insurance in the same manner as intravenous treatments, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network chose to honor Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter) with its Distinguished Advocacy Award for 2017.

“This is an amazing honor, and I am truly humbled,” said Baker, chairman of the House Health Committee. “Taking on the mantle of getting that particular piece of legislation signed into law was an easy decision, because it is something I wholeheartedly believed was the right thing to do. Knowing this new law is now helping people better afford the medications they need to treat their disease effectively makes every hurdle we crossed worth it. To be able to directly help people through the course of my position is why I went into public service in the first place.”

Baker has been a relentless advocate for improving patient access to quality health care, and his oral chemo parity bill was one of many bills he championed toward that goal.

“It was an honor to award Rep. Matt Baker the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Networks (ACS CAN) Distinguished Advocacy Award. Rep. Baker was given this award for his leadership and commitment to advancing strong public health policies,” said Diane Phillips, director of government relations for ACS CAN in Pennsylvania. “Most recently, Rep. Baker’s leadership resulted in the passage of oral chemo legislation which has allowed cancer patients to access the emerging availability of orally administered chemotherapy drugs, at equitable copayment levels as traditional treatments.”

Two more legislative measures Baker is working on to help prevent cancer and improve care for cancer patients are the Clean Indoor Air Act and House Bill 1280.

The Clean Indoor Air Act would address cigar bars, cigar lounges, outdoor spaces and locations where minors frequent – with the understanding their lungs are more susceptible to damage from second-hand smoke. The legislation would close the loopholes for casinos, private clubs and drinking establishments, and also include the use of electronic cigarettes within the definition of smoking. It would also remove the state pre-emption language and give all political subdivisions the ability to enact smoke-free ordinances that are more protective than state law. With this change, Pennsylvania would join 39 other states that do not pre-empt local governments from adopting more stringent smoke-free rules than state law.

House Bill 1280 would provide Stage IV metastatic cancer patients access to the medication and treatments prescribed by their doctors no matter what their insurance typically covers. Current standard practice requires Stage IV patients to first try an insurance-mandated series of medications that fail to improve the condition before being granted access to the oncology medication and treatments prescribed by their doctor.

Representative Matthew Baker
68th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman

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