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Guest MINDSETTER™: Who should be “Hot” in RI Politics

Monday, August 05, 2013


As an avid reader of your Who’s Hot and Who's Not in Rhode Island Politics, I always enjoy your take on the local political landscape. Therefore, I was surprised when a piece of legislation with a tremendous impact on Rhode Islanders was passed by our legislator and received little to no media attention.

The state legislature here in Rhode Island is often times described as out of touch. All of the media did a great job of reporting diligently on the passing of the budget. There were great write-ups on who was “with leadership” and who “went against it”. The stories written were indeed entertaining and shined a spotlight on the glaring shortcomings of how the state legislature is run. The stories reported on in-depth included 38 Studios loan repayment and the implementation of tolls on the Sakonnet River Bridge.

Both of these issues were no doubt of great importance and were relevant. However, the local media outlets missed a huge story that will impact thousands of Rhode Islanders; and it will do so in a more meaningful way.

Rhode Islanders Should Know About Cancer Treatment Legislation

In late June the state legislature passed a bill sponsored by Representative Gregg Amore of East Providence that will require health plans to cover oral chemotherapy pills at a rate comparable to standard intravenous (IV) chemotherapy. Anyone that has been burdened with the terrible disease that is cancer knows the ramifications of the standard IV treatment. The toll it can take on not only the patient, but the family of that patient is immeasurable. The members of our legislature used the power that we gave them and they used it to help the people of Rhode Island. The passage of the bill made Rhode Island the 26th state to approve this type of legislation.

When more than half the country has established such laws mandating the coverage of oral chemotherapy by insurance, there should and will be incredible pressure put on other states to do the same. The passage of this bill will not only benefit the people of this state but its ramifications could be felt nationwide.

Local Media Missed This One

The local media outlets missed this one. The headlines could have and should have read “Rhode Island Makes Cancer Coverage The Norm.” This was Rhode Island’s chance to shine in the spotlight. We could have given ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back. The passage of this bill should have made local and national headlines. Representative Amore’s diligent work and the support of Senator Gayle Golden of Providence should have received much more attention than it has. It’s wide political and social impact is deserving of that attention. Instead our local news media was focused on “Should We Pay Schilling’s Bill?”. We read and listened to sound bytes from the same 12 legislators about why we should and why we shouldn’t pay. To the average citizen it would seem our legislature got absolutely nothing accomplished. However, I think the thousands of Rhode Islanders that will benefit from the passage of this bill would disagree, if the local media told them about it.

Guest MINDSETTER™ John Turbitt Jr., is a lifelong resident of East Providence where he lives with his wife Jillian.  

Editor's Note: The Warwick Beacon published "Legislation Expected to Lower Cancer Treatments Costs for Some" on July 23, 2013.  


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