The Importance of Advocacy

"The risk of not getting involved is that the most expert voices will not be heard. And then, the policies we have to live with won’t reflect what we know is best for our patients." 

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO

ASCO Chief Executive Officer


ASCO has launched a sign-on letter entitled: “An Open Letter from America’s Cancer Doctors and Providers.” Our goal is to gather at least 463 oncologist signatures—one signature for every day since the current crisis began—to demonstrate the widespread nature of the situation across the country and to show the community’s overwhelming support for immediate action.

In addition to the letter, there will be a video with testimonials from doctors sharing the impact of shortages on their patients, a targeted advertising campaign, and additional communications efforts.


2024 State Legislation


VT H. 766 - a bill that would place limits on prior authorization, step therapy, and copay accumulator programs

Join NNECOS and ASCO in urging members of the Vermont House Health Care Committee to support H. 766 to ensure timely access to care.

Read the NNECOS/ASCO Joint Letter of Support

Update: On February 29, the Vermont House Committee on Health Care unanimously advanced H 766. The House is expected to consider the Bill on March 12th.

VT S. 98- concerned PDABs and UPLs could disproportionately impact oncology drugs and are particularly worried about a PDAB setting upper payment limits for physician-administered oncology drug

Read the NNECOS/ASCO Joint Comment Letter


SB 354 - a bill that would prohibit health carriers in New Hampshire from utilizing co-pay accumulator programs and save patients with cancer on their out-of-pocket costs.

Read the NNECOS/ASCO SB 354 Support Letter


LD1577 - Expand Access to Biomarker Testing in Maine

1/30/24 update -  LD 1577 passed today in the Committee On Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services!

Maine Voters - let your voice be heard!

Coalition Website:

2023 State Legislation

NH Senate committee recommends making Medicaid expansion permanent

NH SB263

Vermont Fertility Preservation 

NNECOS - ASCO Joint Letter of Support - H369

H369 - An act relating to health insurance and Medicaid coverage for fertility-related services

VT S63 - An act relating to health insurance and Medicaid coverage for fertility-related services

NNECOS - ASCO Joint Comment Letter - VT S63

Federal Issues Impacting Cancer Care

2024 State Legislative Tracker is Live

(ASCO has transitioned its bill tracker to 2024, including all carry over bills. The tracker updates in real time and the link is available to both ASCO members and nonmembers. ASCO tags legislation relevant to cancer care—including prior authorization, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), step therapy, copay accumulators, fertility preservation, telemedicine, Medicaid expansion, and vaccines.

Current State Advocacy


12/15/23 - Comments on Revisions to Proposed 02-031 C.M.R. Chapter 865 Standards for Fertility Coverage

Maine - LD 1539

Maine Copay Fertility Preservation Bill Becomes Law

As session has adjourned, Governor Janet Mills signed Maine LD 1539, a bill providing

coverage for fertility preservation services for patients with cancer. With her signature,

Maine becomes the twelfth state to provide this coverage, with the law taking effect in 2024.

NNECOS / ASCO letter regarding LD 1539

Maine House Bill 1539 - Update 4/25/22 - sent to Governor Mills!

NNECOS and ASCO support important fertility preservation legislation in Maine. Select the thumbnail to read the letter sent to the Joint Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance & Financial Services in the Maine Legislature.

Update: On May 21, 2021, a request was submitted to carry over HB1539 to next year.

Maine - LD 1783

5/7/22 - LD 1783  becomes law without signature as Governor Mills declined to sign or veto the measure.

Maine joins Washington as the 2nd state to pass a copay accumulator elimination bill this year.

4/25/22 - sent to Governor Mills!

1/10/22 - NNECOS and ASCO send letter of support to Joint Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services regarding LD 1783: An Act To Require Health Insurance Carriers and Pharmacy Benefits Managers To Appropriately Account for Cost-sharing Amounts Paid on Behalf of Insureds. 

NNECOS Leaders Participate in ASCO's Virtual Advocacy Summit

Dr. Marie Wood (current NNECOS President), Dr. John Winters (NNECOS President-elect) and Dr. John Hill (past NNECOS President) participated in ASCO’s Virtual Advocacy Summit April 14, 2021, representing Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire, respectively. Meeting with staffers from each of the Senate and Congressional offices, these NNECOS Board designees lobbied for support of our cancer patients in three legislative efforts under consideration:

  1. Telehealth Modernization Act (H.R. 1332/S.368), which would permanently remove the geographic and originating site restrictions for use of telehealth in Medicare, allowing more patients and providers to continue to benefit from telehealth after the end of the public health emergency.
  2. Safe Step Act (H.R. 2163/S. 464), which would create exceptions to potentially harmful step therapy protocols from private insurance plans so patients would be able to receive appropriate and timely care. This is an especially important piece of legislation for cancer patients who often require (and deserve) a personalized approach to the management of this devastating disease.
  3. Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act (H.R. 869/S.289), which would provide $25 billion in emergency supplemental funding for a number of research agencies, including $10 billion for the NIH. More specifically, this would help close the widening gap that currently exists between R01 grant applications (the foundation of our national cancer research effort) and existing NCI funding, which currently covers only 10% of this important demand.

Each of these NNECOS participants welcomes the opportunity to serve as a resource for Senate and Congressional offices on any issues related to cancer, and they look forward to continued dialogue in the future.

Northern New England Clinical Oncology Society
P.O. Box 643
Sandown, NH 03873-0643
Telephone (603) 887-1948

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