December 6, 2013

Maine cancer panel: Expand Medicaid coverage

Each year, more than 8,000 Maine residents are diagnosed with invasive cancer and more than 3,100 die from the disease.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — A Maine panel that’s been studying how the state can help lower rates of cancer says lawmakers should examine how to increase funding for tobacco and obesity prevention among other efforts.

The Cancer Task Force met Friday to finalize its recommendations and report to the Legislature, which returns next month.

The commission is backing an effort to expand Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul and an education campaign on nutrition and physical activity. Other recommendations include considering increasing some taxes on cigarettes and requiring health plans that cover chemotherapy to include medication that’s administered orally.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services says more than 8,000 Maine residents are diagnosed with invasive cancer each year and more than 3,100 die from cancer every year.

Democratic Rep. Paul McGowan, the committee’s chairman from York, says his personal experiences prompted him to urge the state to fight cancer. He says his wife and several friends have died from cancer.

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