DeSantis Signs Three Healthcare Bills to Address Cancer and Rare Diseases

DeSantis Signs Three Healthcare Bills to Address Cancer and Rare Diseases

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
June 19, 2024

MIAMI, FL—Governor Ron DeSantis signed three healthcare bills into law Tuesday at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, designed to expand certain insurance coverages and increase funding for cancer and rare disease research.

"[Healthcare budget items] as well as the legislation I will sign here today will have a positive impact on the health...of our children," DeSantis said, touting the recently signed $116.5 billion budget. He referenced budget items like the $138 million to expand pediatric services, $85 million to specialty children's hospitals, $255,000 for Nicklaus Children's Hospital, and over $232 million for cancer initiatives.

DeSantis turned to the legislation at hand, revealing the three bills he planned to make law.

SB 1582 creates the Andrew John Anderson Pediatric Rare Disease Grant Program under the Department of Health, designed to expand funding and research into rare diseases. The program is named after bill sponsor Rep. Adam Anderson's son, who died at four years old from the ultra-rare genetic disease called Tay-Sachs, which has just 16 cases annually nationwide.

With over 7,000 rare diseases discovered to date that affect over 350 million people worldwide—30 million of which reside in the United States—DeSantis stressed the need for more research and assistance to the affected, pointing out that nearly 10 percent of the country's population suffers from rare diseases.

"[The program] has already received over 30 applications!" The governor announced, explaining the high demand for the program before its even been created.

Next, he signed SB 7072, which provides more funding for cancer research and requires the Department of Health to make cancer innovation grant funding available to healthcare providers and facilities that demonstrate excellence in patient-centered cancer treatment or research. Furthermore, it enhances his wife Casey DeSantis' Cancer Research Program and "brings accountability" to cancer institutes, DeSantis said, ensuring that taxpayer money is being well-spent.

Lastly, he signed HB 885, which allows Florida Medicaid to provide coverage for biomarker testing—which is the process of examining blood or tissues for any sign of disease—and coverage for looking at various genes or proteins to test which treatments may work for a specific patient.

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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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