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Why Did These Republicans Vote Against Helping Cancer Patients?

Why Did These Republicans Vote Against Helping Cancer Patients?

A handful of the same Republicans voted against every bill to help cancer patients or provide early detection, even when there was no fiscal impact.

With the time ticking down to the last day of the 87th legislature, we’re still dissecting everything that’s happened (and still happening) this session. It’s come to our attention that four bills to help cancer patients, which have made it through the House or Senate, and on each one of those bills, a handful of Republicans voted against helping cancer patients.

Unsurprising, many of these Republicans also claim to be pro-life. However, with votes like these, it’s clear they are anything but pro-life. As of January 2019, there were an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. The number of cancer survivors is projected to increase to 22.2 million by 2030.

Below is a list of each bill and which elected officials voted against it.

HB428.

HB428 is a bill by Ken King (a Republican) that includes ovarian cancer testing at an annual well-woman exam.

It’s estimated that nearly 14,000 women will die this year from ovarian cancer. The five-year survival rate for persons diagnosed with ovarian cancer is less than 50 percent. When ovarian cancer is found early, about 94% of patients live longer than 5 years after diagnosis.

This bill has no significant fiscal impact on the state or taxpayers. HB428 will save thousands of lives every year in Texas. It’s a good bill, and it’s passed the House and the Senate. (The Senate votes haven’t been posted yet.) Here are the House members who voted against it:

  • Kyle Biedermann
  • Briscoe Cain
  • Jeff Cason
  • James Frank
  • Cole Hefner
  • Phil King
  • Ben Leman
  • Mayes Middleton
  • Candy Noble
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Bryan Slaton
  • Shelby Slawson
  • David Spiller
  • Tony Tinderholt
  • Cody Vasut

HB1588.

In 2015, the FDA approved scalp cooling devices for female breast cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. This technology helps reduce hair loss induced by chemotherapy.


According to the American Cancer Society, approximately half of the women who use a scalp cooling device while undergoing chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer lose less than half of their hair. HB1588 seeks to require health benefit plans to provide coverage for a scalp cooling system, application, or procedure for an enrollee undergoing or has undergone medical treatment for cancer if the treating physician has deemed it appropriate treatment.

This bill has no significant fiscal impact on the state or taxpayers.

Here are the Representatives who voted against it:

  • Kyle Biedermann
  • Dustin Burrows
  • Briscoe Cain
  • Giovanni Capriglione
  • Jeff Cason
  • David Cook
  • Tom Craddick
  • John Cyrier
  • James Frank
  • Gary Gates
  • Cole Hefner
  • Phil King
  • Brooks Landgraf
  • Ben Leman
  • Mayes Middleton
  • Andrew Murr
  • Candy Noble
  • Tan Parker
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Matt Shaheen
  • Bryan Slaton
  • Shelby Slawson
  • David Spiller
  • Tony Tinderholt
  • Cody Vasut
  • Terry Wilson

HB3951.

HB3951 seeks to eliminate screening barriers and maximize early detection of prostate cancer by prohibiting a health benefit plan from charging any form of cost-sharing for certain prostate cancer screenings.

The American Cancer Society projects that there will be 14,200 new cases of prostate cancer, resulting in 3,320 deaths in Texas in 2021. Research indicates that one in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, a likelihood that increases to one in six for African-American men and one in three for men with a family history of prostate cancer. It has been reported that targeting men with higher risk factors for prostate cancer, including veterans and active service members, can reduce health outcome disparities in most populations impacted by the disease. However, the cost of preventive screening services may deter or prevent men from the early detection of prostate cancer.

The fiscal note on this bill says: “costs cannot be determined at this time because HHSC does not have sufficient information regarding how many individuals would be newly eligible for these services nor is it known how many individuals would seek out services.”

This is also a good bill and will save thousands of lives in Texas. Here are the Representatives that voted against it:

  • Cecil Bell
  • Brad Buckley
  • Briscoe Cain
  • Jeff Cason
  • Travis Clardy
  • David Cook
  • Jake Ellzey
  • Gary Gates
  • Cody Harris
  • Cole Hefner
  • Matt Krause
  • Jeff Leach
  • Ben Leman
  • Will Metcalf
  • Candy Noble
  • Tom Oliverson
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Bryan Slaton
  • Shelby Slawson
  • Tony Tinderholt
  • Steve Toth
  • Cody Vasut
  • Terry Wilson

SB1028.

Although colorectal cancer is preventable, it remains the second leading cause of cancer death in Texas. Early detection of cancer through screening is key to improving survival rates and reducing mortality. As such, thousands of deaths could be avoided if coverage requirements for early detection were updated to adhere to current recommendations.

SB1028 seeks to do this by lowering the age at which the coverage requirement applies to 45 years of age and expanding the examinations, preventative services, and laboratory tests that must be covered.

Here are the Representatives that voted against this bill:

  • Kyle Biedermann
  • Brad Buckley
  • Briscoe Cain
  • David Cook
  • Jake Ellzey
  • Gary Gates
  • Cole Hefner
  • Matt Krause
  • Mayes Middleton
  • Candy Noble
  • Matt Schaefer
  • Matt Shaheen
  • Bryan Slaton
  • Shelby Slawson
  • Tony Tinderholt
  • Steve Toth
  • Cody Vasut

Why would these Republicans repeatedly vote against helping people with cancer?

If you noticed, on each one of these lists, it’s the same Republicans over and over again. Aside from HB3951, which has an unknown fiscal impact, the other three bills have no significant fiscal impact on the state or taxpayers.

These bills will help cancer patients. These bills will save lives. Yet, the same Republicans voted against them.

Why?

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