Medical Societies deliver letter to Gov. Hochul urging her to sign biomarker bill

| November 29, 2023

Medical Society of the State of New York
New York State Academy of Family Physicians
New York State American Academy of Pediatrics
New York State Ophthalmological Society
New York State Psychiatric Association
New York State Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.
New York State Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery
New York State Society of Plastic Surgeons
The New York State Radiological Society, Inc.


November 29, 2023

Governor Kathy Hochul
State Capitol, Executive Chamber
Albany, NY 12224

RE: S.1196-A/A.1673-A – AN ACT to amend the insurance law and the social services law, in relation to requiring health insurance policies and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing for certain purposes

Dear Governor Hochul,

On behalf the undersigned medical specialty societies, which collectively represent tens of thousands of practicing physicians from across the state caring for New Yorkers across the disease spectrum, we are writing to respectfully ask you to sign S.1196-A / A.1673-Ainto law.

Biomarker testing has become a game-changing part of cancer care and determining the best treatment for other serious and life-threatening conditions. Signing this bill would extend the lives of current patients, ensure the quality of life of future patients, and honor the lives of past patients who did not have the benefit of biomarker testing. Biomarker testing opens the door to targeted treatment thereby dramatically improving survivorship and quality of life. Despite the proven benefits, many insurers fail to keep pace with innovations and advancements in biomarker testing. As a result, some patients must decide whether to pay out-of-pocket and incur medical debt or go without the testing and jeopardize their health and quality of life.

Many people of color, individuals with lower incomes, and residents of rural communities are currently precluded from access to the latest advances in precision treatments. S.1196-A/ A.1673-A can help address these disparities. Biomarker testing is revolutionizing cancer care and the treatment of many other conditions as well. For example, there are current applications in rheumatoid arthritis, other autoimmune diseases, organ and tissue transplants, and rare diseases, to name a few.

In May, the FDA approved a biomarker test for preeclampsia. This test allows doctors to determine which patients with preeclampsia are at the highest risk – allowing more women to avoid extended hospital stays ahead of delivery.

Additionally last Spring, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research announced a breakthrough for a Parkinson’s biomarker, which will help to reveal a key pathology of the disease which is expected to drive treatment breakthroughs in the future.

This legislation will ensure that applications of biomarker testing will be covered when there is sufficient medical and scientific evidence. The evidence of value and effectiveness of biomarker testing is overwhelming. That is why the physicians represented by our organizations support this legislation.

As physicians, we are committed to doing what is in the best interests of patients. Precision medicine is changing the way we treat diseases and chronic illnesses, and biomarker testing is the key to opening the door to such game-changing treatments.

We ask that you sign S.1196-A/A.1673-A knowing it will help us deliver the best possible care for patients across New York.