Effective January 1, 2023, the California Cancer Care Equality Act offers expanded access to critical cancer care to all Medi-Cal patients. The legislation positions California as a national leader in equitable cancer care and treatment access – and serves as a blueprint for the rest of the country.

What is the California Cancer Care Equity Act?

Also known as SB287, the Act enables lower-income Californians with the best possible care available, regardless of costs. Included in the Act are provisions for many elements of comprehensive cancer prevention and treatment, including genomic testing, subspecialty expertise and inclusion in clinical trials.

The legislation impacts Medi-Cal beneficiaries, which account for nearly one-third of the state’s total population.

Saving Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

In 2022, as many as 189,000 California residents will be diagnosed with cancer. The Act will provide Medi-Cal beneficiaries access to new treatments, including cost-effective options like CAR T cell therapies. Even incremental improvements in outcomes will save thousands of lives annually, including among the 32,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Read the full California Cancer Care Equity Act

Why the Act was Needed

The decades-long effort to make this legislation a reality was motivated by the healthcare system’s inequity. Specifically, Medi-Cal patients have a long history of below-average outcomes. Compared to their privately insured neighbors, Medi-Cal beneficiaries have worse-than-average outcomes for lung cancer, breast cancer, and several other cancer types.

California isn’t alone in economic inequality. Nationwide, 34% of cancer deaths would be prevented if all kinds of socioeconomic access were eliminated.

Specialized Cancer Care Saves Lives

One of the most important components of the Act is the provision to cover costs associated with subspecialty experts. Leukemia patients, for example, see a 53% reduction in early mortality when they receive care from leukemia specialists.

The California Cancer Care Equity Act Matters

The CCCEA offers other states and the federal government a blueprint for expanding fair, affordable and equitable cancer care nationwide. This type of legislation is a sign of hope for high-risk, low-income families, but we can all do more. In addition to treatment, access to preventative healthcare and cancer screening play critical roles in reducing not just cancer mortality rates but cancer occurrences, stress and financial hardship. Stay committed to cancer prevention in 2023 and support our work. Donate to Less Cancer today.