On February 21, John W. Killip, D.D.S., patient and Kansas City Multiple Myeloma support group member, and Associate Dean for Student Programs at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) School of Dentistry, testified before the House Health Insurance Committee in support of HB 1158, the oral chemotherapy access bill.
“The Committee was hearing statements for and against HB 1158,” said John. “I spoke on behalf of all cancer patients in Missouri with an emphasis on myeloma patients and the International Myeloma Foundation. There were multiple patients and representatives from patient advocacy organizations who spoke in support of the bill. And, there were professional lobbyists from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Missouri, United Health Care, and Coventry who spoke against the bill.”
John shared his personal journey with myeloma to the committee and explained the available treatment options to patients and the importance of accessing all options equitably.
“Over the course of our lifetimes myeloma patients can anticipate that it will be necessary for our doctors to use all of the available forms of treatment to prolong our survival rate. There are currently many additional chemotherapeutic agents (both IV and oral) in the developmental pipeline. As treatment choices broaden in the future, limitations placed by insurance carriers may limit certain patient options. It is imperative that the doctor’s prescribed form of treatment be available to patients and that their treatment decisions not be determined by limitations put in place by the insurance carrier,” John ascertained.
John was diagnosed with myeloma in the fall of 2007 and received an autologous stem cell transplant in March 2008. With the support of oral maintenance therapies he remains in a state of very near remission. He explained that because of the effectiveness of stem cell transplants and oral anti-cancer medications, he and other patients have been able to continue working during and after treatment. This has helped employers to avoid the costly issues of missed days at work, short long-term disability, care giver absenteeism and replacement worker costs.
We asked John to describe his experience before the House Health Insurance Committee in his own words…
The opportunity to speak publically on behalf of all cancer patients in Missouri and especially the Multiple Myeloma patients and the IMF was exhilarating. It was also an incredible opportunity to further develop my advocacy speaking skills. I came away from the hearing filled with an increased commitment to advocate for Myeloma patients’ rights and support. I look forward to serving and speaking on behalf of the IMF in additional venues in the future.
THANK YOU to John for his and congratulations for being the Advocate of the Month for March!
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