Sen. Mark Green calls for special session to override veto on Cancer Patient Choice Act

Governor vetoed bill giving cancer patients proven alternative to radiation at the same price

Senator Mark Green and Representative Bob Ramsey called on the General Assembly to reconvene for a special session to override the Governor’s veto of the Cancer Patient Choice Act. SB 367, which gives patients and their physicians the choice of proton therapy for cancer treatment, and which passed the Senate 29-1-1 and the House 85-13.

“Let’s remember where this begins: A physician and patient. The physician makes a recommendation for what he thinks or she thinks is best for the patient. Next, the patient decides they want that. But then, the insurance companies step in,” stated Senator Green. “Unfortunately, the Governor has chosen to side with the insurance companies and their vendors--ignoring what physicians and the patient have decided is best.”

The authors of the bill agreed creating a special process was not ideal and placed the bill into summer study last year.  The Administration was given 18 months to find a solution, but when that failed, the General Assembly took action and overwhelmingly passed this bill to protect both state employees and the doctor-patient relationship.

The House sponsor of the measure, and a healthcare provider himself, Rep. Bob Ramsey said, “I’m shocked and deeply disappointed that the governor, having for five years opposed this and similar legislation, would deny state employees and their dependents the potential to treat cancer while maintaining the maximum quality of life. It is established medical fact that proton therapy saves tissue, and thus lowers radiation side effects.”

Green, A physician and a cancer survivor, continued, “This bill would provide proton therapy as an option at the same price as traditional radiation. Having taken care of thousands of patients myself, I realize that every patient is unique, and their disease is as unique as they are. We need to give the physician and the patient the right to choose. This bill did so with no additional cost to the state.  Further, the General Assembly voted convincingly to pass the legislation. I hope my colleagues will join me to override this veto.”