hunter floor 0523SPRINGFIELD – With Gov. Pritzker’s signature, Illinois Medicaid recipients would be eligible for life-saving clinical trials to treat cancer and other serious diseases.

“We know that African-Americans are significantly underrepresented among those who participate in clinical trials, meaning we lose out on life-saving opportunities and unanswered questions then remain on the effectiveness of these medications for blacks,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).

“Because Medicaid recipients are much more diverse, this measure will help reduce that disparity for black patients and for low-income white residents, while advancing the overall fight against cancer.”

On the final day of the spring legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation to require Medicaid to cover routine care costs incurred for an approved clinical trial involving the prevention, detection, or treatment of cancer or any other life-threatening disease, as long as Medicaid would normally cover those same routine care costs for a non-clinical procedure.

The legislation regarding clinical trials was part of a broader health care package – SB 1864 – sponsored by Hunter.

More than 20% of Illinoisans are covered by Medicaid, making it the second largest type of insurance behind Medicare.

Medicare and private insurance carriers are already required to provide coverage for routine care costs in clinical trial participation. Medicaid is not. This legislation would align Medicaid coverage for clinical trials with coverage under those insurance plans.

The legislation would also require the Department of Healthcare and Family Services and Department of Insurance to oversee a feasibility study exploring options to make health insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income residents.

Additionally, SB 1864 would create the Kidney Disease Prevention and Education Task Force and authorize HFS to take action on COVID-19.

The measure passed the Illinois Senate 50-3 and awaits the governor’s signature.