Watching my family and friends suffer from cancer, I know a cancer diagnosis is scary. Battling cancer during a global pandemic is a nightmare. Many cancer patients have compromised immune systems, putting them at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This makes accessing cancer treatments terrifying for patients and families.

Congress can take action to allow some cancer patients in Oregon to get treatments in the safety of their own home by improving access to oral chemotherapy.

Many insurance companies charge significantly more for oral chemotherapy than for IV chemotherapy. These drugs are not significantly more expensive, but out-of-pocket costs for oral therapies are higher under these plans. In 2018, Oregon passed legislation to ensure that oral chemotherapy is covered the same way as IV chemotherapy. However, the federal government has not, so people on federal health plans don't have this benefit.

By requiring health plans to provide the same level of coverage for oral chemotherapy as for IV chemotherapy, Congress could make access to treatment easier for Oregonians with cancer and help reduce their higher risk for COVID-19. As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action volunteer, I'm calling on Congressman Greg Walden to help ease the burden of cancer in Oregon and our health infrastructure by including the Cancer Drug Parity Act in the next stimulus package.

Karen Malcolm


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