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Lance Bill Confronts Health Care Costs Bipartisan Cancer Coverage Bill Seeks Parity in Care

Lance and Susan G. Komen advocates Kaitlyn Wojtowicz, Alyse Calcagno and Tina Jacobs Credits: Congressman Lance's Office

U.S. Representatives Leonard Lance (NJ-07) and Brian Higgins (NY-26) have introduced bipartisan legislation called the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R. 1409) that would require health insurance plans that cover traditional chemotherapy to provide no less favorable coverage for prescribed, orally-administered anticancer medications.  With the rising usage of oral medication by cancer patients, Lance believes this reform to coverage options will lower out-of-pockets costs for patients.    

“Insurance coverage for cancer treatments must keep up with innovation.  Many patients are now using promising oral treatments but are forced to pay astronomical out-of-pocket costs or forgo treatment altogether.  We have to fix this disparity in coverage so cancer patients are making health care decisions based on the best information, not which treatment fits into outdated guidelines,” said Lance, a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee.

Lance has built a record in Congress on cancer-related issues.   Lance played a major role in the 21st Century Cures Actbecoming law last year and Lance’s Breast Cancer Patient Education Act was put into implementation last year.  Lance has again recruited Susan G. Komen to help get this legislation through Congress.  “We want to thank Congressman Lance for introducing this vital legislation on oral parity, which we've already passed in the state of New Jersey,” said Director of Community Health of Komen North Jersey Tina Jacobs, a resident of Summit, New Jersey. “We’ve seen the impact of this bill in our community, including especially huge benefits for women with metastatic breast cancer, which is why Komen and our Affiliate are proud to support this bill.”

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Lance is trying to build a bipartisan consensus behind ideas that will lower costs across the health care market.  Rep. Brian Higgins, a member of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, will be the lead Democrat on Lance’s bill.  “Today’s medicine allows some cancer patients the opportunity to take chemotherapy in the form of a pill at home rather than through an IV in the hospital; yet under the existing broken system, in some cases it is more costly to fill the prescription than spend hours in a medical facility under health care supervision.  The Cancer Drug Parity Act levels the cancer drug playing field so patients can focus on fighting cancer, not fighting for coverage on life-saving medication.” 

Oral chemotherapy is becoming more common for patients with many types of cancer.  Doctors and patients though have found that health insurance coverage for different types of cancer treatments is not uniform.  Often orally-administered, anti-cancer medications are covered under a plan’s prescription drug component that often places a higher percentage of cost sharing on the patient.  Reform is needed, as oncologists suggest 35% of present research is focused on oral chemotherapy.  The measure has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee where Lance is a member.  

The national Susan G. Komen organization also backs the duo’s legislation.  “Every breast cancer patient should have access to the right treatments without undue economic or regulatory burdens to that care. Oral chemotherapy allows patients to be with families or productive on their jobs, rather than spending hours at a clinic taking traditional chemotherapy, and should be available at no additional cost,” said Komen Interim CEO Ellen Willmott. “We will work with Congressman Lance to pass the Cancer Drug Parity Act.”

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Information on Parking and Traffic for Saturday's March for Our Lives in Union

March 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – Several hundred people or more are expected to participate in the Union County March for Our Lives event on Saturday morning in Union.

Students, teachers, parents, clergy and public officials from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall in an anti-gun violence march.

Parking will be available in the following ...

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on March 19

March 22, 2018

Following the board announcements, I noted the increased police presence at each of our ten schools, thanking the town and police department for their efforts.  I also noted that we’ve been working on updating our crisis communication plan in light of today’s climate of instant communication.

Board president Gretchan Ohlig thanked the mayor and police chief for working with ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM


March for Our Lives - Westfield

Government Law & Justice

Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Burent Middle School , Union

Union County Wide - March for Our Lives

Government Law & Justice


Sun, March 25, 11:00 AM

Shackamaxon Country Club, Scotch Plains

Hear Our Voices: MemoryCare Plays

Health & Wellness

Westfield Police Blotter: More Than $2K Worth of Items Reported Stolen from Business, & More

March 21, 2018

March 11, 2018 6:42 p.m.

Marion Bethea, age 56, of Roselle, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for her arrest from Columbia Municipal Court in the amount of $500 pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on recognizance.


March 16, 2018 11:16 a.m.

Blas Barquin, age 34, of Cranford, NJ, was arrested on the strength of an outstanding ...

Enjoy 5 Engaging Films at the Spring Jewish Film Festival of Central NJ

March 22, 2018

The Jewish Film Festival of Central NJ is pleased to present five films this spring at the Rialto NewVision Theater, 250 East Broad Street in Westfield. Screenings begin April 10 and run through May 7. All films start at 7:30 p.m.

We begin the spring series with The Testament on Tuesday, April 10. In The Testament, an uncompromising Holocaust researcher uncovers highly classified evidence that ...

Staying On Top

Some people are bulldozers. They move mountains, conquer countries, achieve the seemingly impossible. But then when there are no more mountains to climb, they falter. Routines, maintenance and sustainability are not their strong points. They respond to excitement and challenge, not to the uneventful, monotonous daily grind.

The title word of this week's Parshah, Tzav, means ...

White Standard Poodle Missing from 700 Block of Belvidere Ave. in Plainfield

A Plainfield neighbor in the 700 block of Belvidere Ave. is missing Chanel, her standard white poodle, who ran out the door and was last seen near Leland and Cushing avenues toward Union County College on Wednesday evening.

Chanel is not wearing a collar or tags, and is not micro-chipped.  She has been recently groomed and weighs about 36 pounds.  She is friendly, but may not come if ...

'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Can I Change My Partner?

March 21, 2018

Couples oftentimes look to change the “other.” “If only” the other would make these changes, or do as I say, our relationship would be great. We tend to focus on the other. We tend to focus on changing the other. We tend to focus on the other’s negative behavior. Couples like to report what their spouse/partner is doing and how they are ...

16 Homes Sold Last Week in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside & Cranford

Sixteen homes sold last week, March 11 to March 18, 2018, in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Mountainside and Cranford:*


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Charitable Spirit Alive and Well in Westfield Public Schools

Students, staff and parents in Westfield Public Schools continue the district’s long tradition of helping others both in and outside of the community, with a number of students recently recognized for their efforts.

Fifteen Westfield High School juniors and sophomores were honored by the Community Food Bank of New Jersey for collecting more than 5,000 pounds of food items for families in ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


Financially Savvy Charitable Giving: Donor-Advised Funds

Americans are known to be philanthropic, with an estimated 83% donating to charitable causes. Making the donation convenient and tax-effective is a win-win for both charities and those with a generous heart. Donor-advised funds (DAFs) are a simplistic funding structure available to those with both small and large charitable giving pots.  

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Kathleen Marie Christian (nee Helmstetter), age 73 of Surf City, NJ, passed away peacefully at home ...
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Suspended Hillsborough HS Athletic Director Charged with Theft

March 19, 2018

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ — Suspended Hillsborough High School Athletic Director Michael Fanizzi has been arrested and charged with the theft of $10,704 in athletic event receipts over a four-year period from 2013-2017, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Fanizzi, 53, a resident of Conover Way in Hillsborough who had been athletics director for 14 years, had been ...