I often try and steer a little clear of the most controversial of issues effecting those of us with prostate cancer, but despite personal opinions, the recent health care reform passed in the United States requires discussion. The reform legislation, besides representing the most sweeping social policy change in the U.S. in decades will have a significant impact on all people fighting any type of cancer, including prostate cancer.

As with most legislation there is no easy way to read just a few paragraphs and understand what it says, this reform legislation is no different. So, what does this legislation mean for us cancer survivors?

• It means people with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses who decide to help move treatment options forward by enrolling in clinical trials won’t also be burdened with what can become crushing out-of-pocket costs for routine care. Currently, many insurance policies specifically exclude routine care for clinical trial participants, even if they would normally pay for this care when the survivor is not participating in a trial. Insurance companies will now have to pay for the routine medical care of the trial participants.

• It means that our children and grandchildren won’t be denied medical insurance coverage because of pre-existing conditions. In 2014, this will also expand to adults.

• It means insurance companies can’t cancel your coverage if you become ill and require expensive therapies or treatments. Isn’t this the very reason we purchase coverage. It also means that insurance companies will not be able to impose annual o