When it comes to improving access to care for childhood cancer patients, Benjamin Lepper ’25 uses his inner strength pulled from personal experience to advocate for change.
This fall, Lepper joined advocates from the New England region of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in Washington, D.C., to lobby Massachusetts Congressional members in support of the bipartisan Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act. The bill would improve children’s access to needed out-of-state health care by streamlining the Medicaid provider screening and enrollment process.
“The bureaucracy needs to stop. It pits states against each other when determining which state will cover the cost and there isn’t time for that. Childhood cancer patients need care immediately,” Lepper, a pediatric cancer survivor, said.
According to Tara Rivard ’12, executive director of the LLS New England Region, screening and enrollment processes in a child’s home state Medicaid program can cause “burdensome, unnecessary delays for time-sensitive care that can lead to a child’s condition worsening. No childhood cancer patient should have to wait weeks or months for time-sensitive treatment because their provider or care team are in a different state. It is imperative that everyone achieves a level of at least basic understanding because not only do these policies affect all of us and our loved ones, but we can personally influence change and progression in policy,” she said.