Letter to the editor: Colorado lawmakers should support patient access to cellular therapy act
Childhood memories with cousins and extended family are priceless. For me, spending time with my cousin Laura are some of the best moments in my youth. Sadly, at 10-years-old, Laura was diagnosed with leukemia.
In 1979, when she was diagnosed, bone marrow transplants were a groundbreaking treatment. Eager to try anything to cure Laura’s leukemia, the Graves agreed to have her undergo the first ever bone marrow transplant from a nonrelative source. It worked.
Today, the National Marrow Donor Program and Be The Match manage the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world, which works every day to save lives like Laura’s through transplant.
Colorado is home to nearly 30,000 potential donor volunteers who joined the Be The Match registry between 2013 and 2018. With more than 1,000 patients in Colorado searching for a match during the past five years, it is critically important for our lawmakers to support policies that foster increased access to cellular transplant, including reforming outdated Medicare policies that dramatically underfund transplant.
Under current Medicare policy, older Americans diagnosed with blood cancers or rare blood disorders could face a severe shortage of options when seeking transplant.
Thankfully, there has been bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress to fix this issue. The Patient Access to Cellular Therapy Act would guarantee sufficient reimbursement for providing these vital services, thereby securing patient access to transplant.
I hope our U.S. senators, including Sen. Michael Bennet, support this bill in Congress. By cosponsoring this bill, he would send an important message to his colleagues on Capitol Hill and here in Colorado of the importance and gravity of this issue. I urge Bennet and the entire Colorado congressional delegation to co-sponsor the PACT Act.
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