Supporters of Senate Bill 1034 are looking for answers after they say their bill is being held in committee after passing the full Senate.

That bill is aimed at making sure oral and intervenous chemotherapy are priced fairly under the state health insurance plans.

Critics of the legislation, however say it is a narrow bill that is flawed.

Chris Bruce, a leukemia survivor who now works as an advocate for cancer patients, said that even with insurance, some people cannot afford the oral chemotherapy pills their doctor prescribes. The treatments can cost thousands of dollars per month. 

"They aren't making it that you can't get it - they are making it so expensive that it's the same thing," Bruce said.

Senate Bill 1034 is aimed at ensuring equal cost-sharing for orally administered anti-cancer treatments and traditional intravenous (IV) treatments on state health insurance plans.

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Medication used to help treat cancer is so expensive, that some people simply have to skip treatment. 

"I've been through chemotherapy, oral and intravenous, I’ve been to the doctor when they write me a prescription and I’ve made it to the pharmacy and then I find out how much the medication is, and I walk away without it," Bruce said.

Supporters of the bill explain one of the big issues is that oral medications are covered under pharmacy benefits, while IV chemo is under medical.

"If you have intravenous chemotherapy, you go to the doctor and get it and you can make payments on it," Bruce said. "But, if you have an oral medication when you get to the pharmacy you have to pay that entire deductible right there," said Bruce.

The bill passed through the Senate and is now awaiting a hearing in the House Health and Welfare committee. 

One of the bill ’s co-sponsors, Rep. John Vander Woude (R-Nampa) has been working on the legislation for a number of years, and hopes it can make a difference for cancer patients in need.

“I think it sends a message to the insurance companies that you have to start looking at what you treat as pharmaceutical and what you treat as medical," said Vander Woude.

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It's been a week since the bill passed the Senate, but it has still not been given a hearing. 

House Health and Welfare committee Chairman Fred Wood (R-Burley) says he thinks the bill is flawed.

"What we are really talking about, and the real issue for America and Idaho is the high cost of drugs," he said. "The problem is, this legislation doesn't do anything about that at all."

The chairman says he would encourage supporters of the bill to instead look into information on what state health insurance plans offer the best coverage.

"Unfortunately whether its cancer or any other chronic dreaded disease that you could come with, you know you are going to have significant expenditures on an annual basis you're going to start purchasing the kind of insurance that best suits you," Wood said. "That's the kind of things we ought to be doing," said Wood.

Supporters say they just want the bill to be given a chance.

"It justifies at least getting a hearing. I don't know if it will even get out of the committee, but I think it should at least have a hearing in the committee to see where the committee is on it," said Vander Woude. 

"I mean, not to say it’s going to make it out of the house. Because it may not make it out of the House but I think it should at least be open for discussion," said Bruce.

Supporters say they will continue to push for this legislation in the future.