Take Action on Important Breast Cancer Legislation

Molly Guthrie | Sep 25, 2019 | Advocacy

Public policy plays a significant role in breast cancer research, treatment and patients’ access to affordable care. As such, public policy is a key part of Susan G. Komen’s Mission and our 360-degree approach to fighting this disease.

We know that in order to save lives, everyone must have access to high-quality and affordable care. Yet, many patients face barriers preventing them from getting the care that might save their lives.

Komen advocates in states across the country and at the federal level to pass meaningful legislation so that everyone – regardless of age, gender, race and socioeconomic status – can get the care they need.

At the federal level, many important pieces of legislation have been introduced that would benefit research and patients. We need your help advancing pending legislation. Take action today!

The legislation includes: 

Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act – H.R.2428

Millions of women across the country have access to free screening mammography, thanks to its inclusion as a required essential health benefit under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, if the results of that screening mammogram suggest the need for a follow-up diagnostic exam to determine if the woman has breast cancer, she may be faced with hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs — all before she ever gets to treatment. The Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act will eliminate insurance barriers to diagnostic imaging by prevent insurers from imposing cost-sharing practices for these medically necessary exams.  

Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act – H.R.1370/S.562

Did you know that custom breast prosthesis is the only body part not covered by Medicare as a custom replacement? Breast prosthesis is only one option to replace the lost breast following a mastectomy, with another being breast reconstruction. However, not everyone may be a candidate for breast reconstruction, and this can be an expensive and physically taxing procedure. After a breast cancer diagnosis and mastectomy, women deserve all options available to them to replace the lost breast. The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act will allow all women insured with Medicare to have access to custom breast prosthesis. 

Cancer Drug Parity Act – H.R.1730/S.741

Scientific breakthroughs have dramatically changed the way we treat cancer with an increasing amount of oral anti-cancer therapies becoming available. Unfortunately, outdated policies for insurance coverage haven’t kept up and can force patients to pay much higher out-of-pocket costs for medicines taken orally than those intravenous (IV). For many patients battling cancer, oral anti-cancer therapies are sometimes the only treatment option, not just the best option. This legislation will ensure anyone who has ever received a breast cancer diagnosis has access to the anti-cancer treatments they need. 

Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act – H.R.2178/S.1374

There are currently more than 155,000 women and men living with metastatic breast cancer in the United States alone. While metastatic breast cancer can be treated, there is no cure. This is why metastatic breast cancer patients do not have time to wait for the treatments they need. Under current regulations, metastatic breast cancer patients are subject to a 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance and a 24-month waiting period for eligible Medicare benefits. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act, will provide metastatic breast cancer patients access to the care they need by waiving the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance and the 24-month waiting period for eligible Medicare benefits. 

Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act – H.R.2777/S.1938

The Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screening (PALS) Act protects access to annual mammograms without cost-sharing starting at age 40 and ensures that women veterans treated in the Veterans Health Administration do not face these obstacles in getting the care they and their health care providers deem necessary. The PALS Act would postpone U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations that could severely limit women’s access to mammograms until 2021. Because many insurance companies use these guidelines as the basis for coverage, 22 million women between 40 and 49 could be at risk for losing coverage for lifesaving mammograms.