Oklahoma Senate panel approves proton therapy treatment bill

The Washington Times

By Associated Press | March 26, 2015

A state Senate committee has approved legislation to prohibit health insurers from holding proton radiation cancer therapy to a higher standard of clinical effectiveness than other cancer-related radiation therapies.

The Senate Committee on Insurance voted 6-0 Thursday for the bill and sent it to the full Senate for a vote. The Oklahoma House passed the bill 97-0 earlier this month.

The therapy uses a beam of protons to irradiate diseased tissue. It was approved for cancer treatment by the Food and Drug Administration in 1988.

It can more precisely localize a radiation dose than traditional therapies and reduce side effects to surrounding tissue. But the therapy’s cost has prompted some health insurance companies to require it meet an even higher level of clinical effectiveness.

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