Michigan Legislature Blocks CON Restriction on New Cancer Therapy
The Michigan Legislature blocked an attempt by the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) Commission to limit access to a new treatment for some blood cancers, known as CAR-T cell therapy.
In September, at the behest of some of the state’s leading cancer centers, the commission voted to require that all facilities interested in offering CAR-T get approval and accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, a national nonprofit organization. The treatment has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in August it would cover the procedure in facilities enrolled in FDA risk and mitigation strategies.
As Health Care News reported in November, Michigan state law allows the legislature or governor up to 45 days to disallow a regulation by the commission. On October 30, in a party-line vote, the Republican-led House and Senate nixed the certification rule in a measure sponsored by Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington). In a statement, VanderWall said the treatment “is bringing patients back from the brink of death” and “should not be taken away by bureaucratic hurdles and unnecessary regulations.”
“While any effort by Michigan lawmakers to stop unnecessary regulations from blocking innovation in health care should be applauded, lowering the barriers to CAR-T represents only a small fix to a much bigger problem.,” said Matt Glans, a senior policy analyst at The Heartland Institute, which publishes Health Care News. “CON laws stand in the way of all kinds of health care improvements and needed expansion of care to thousands of Michiganders. Full repeal of these archaic rules should be the ultimate goal for policymakers.”
Michigan state Senator Curt VanderWall, (R–Ludington):