Proton Therapy cancer treatment in Illinois expands thanks to bipartisan support

In an era of hyper-partisan rhetoric surrounding all layers of government, many Illinois residents are eager to hear about ways their elected officials are working together across the aisle to bring about improvements to Illinoisans daily lives.

A recent example of strongly bipartisan legislation was a measure sponsored by State Representative Norine Hammond (Macomb) to require health insurance plans to provide coverage for proton beam therapy cancer treatment.

Representative Hammond spent over two years working on legislation to make it easier for cancer patients to receive proton beam therapy as part of their treatment plan. Hammond said that while proton beam therapy is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, insurance companies often restrict or refuse coverage for the treatment.

“Proton therapy is a very effective treatment for certain types of cancer,” Rep. Hammond said. “The legislation that I introduced last year was for a constituent that had brain cancer. She was told that proton therapy was the option that she should take for her treatment. However, it was not an in-network expense so they paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. That being said she is doing wonderfully as a result of the treatment.”

Public Act 103-0325 received vast bipartisan support when it was proposed by Hammond and passed in the Illinois House of Representatives as House Bill 2799 on March 22, 2023. Democrats and Republicans were able to come together, work together, and accomplish a good thing for families dealing with difficult diagnoses and treatments.

Proton Beam Therapy is offered at several facilities throughout Illinois including Northwestern Medicine in suburban Chicagoland, Loyola Medicine in Chicagoland, OSF St. Francis in Peoria, Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago and more. The list of proton beam therapy sites is growing after accessibility to treatment has been improved under this new state law.