Committee Passes Bill to Enable Medicaid Members to Participate in Clinical Trials

Legislation would require Medicaid to cover the additional health care services necessary for clinical trial participation

DENVER, CO– The House Committee on Health and Insurance today passed bipartisan legislation sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet and Larry Liston to facilitate participation in clinical trials for Medicaid members. HB20-1232 passed by a vote of 10-0.

“We need the makeup of our clinical trials to reflect the makeup of our communities,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City. “Not only will this bill ensure Colorado’s clinical trial data is more accurate and applicable to a broader population, it will go a long way towards guaranteeing health equity in our state. Ensuring that the more than one million Coloradans on Medicaid can participate in clinical trials is good for them, for their families, and for Colorado as a whole.”

Clinical trials are often the only treatment available for some conditions, but under current law, Medicaid participants face nearly impossible barriers to participate. When patients participate in clinical trials, the drug manufacturers cover all of the costs of the treatment, but do not cover the costs of health services necessary to participate, such as laboratory tests or physician follow up visits. HB20-1232 allows Medicaid patients to have their routine costs of care covered while they are participating in a clinical trial. Both private insurers and Medicare are already required to cover these services, but Colorado law doesn’t specifically require Medicaid to cover them.

Inclusion of diverse participants is necessary to gather appropriate clinical trial data, and enrollment in clinical trials is particularly low among racial and ethnic minority patients as well as rural patients who make up a large portion of Colorado’s Medicaid beneficiaries. Guaranteeing coverage when Medicaid patients choose to participate in trials will help encourage participation of these underrepresented groups and will help to establish equal access to care for all Coloradans.

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