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Dingell, King, Wasserman Schultz, Fitzpatrick, Allred, McMorris Rodgers Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Cover Breast Cancer Diagnosis Tests

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Peter King (R-NY), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Colin Allred (D-TX), and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) introduced bipartisan legislation to make breast cancer diagnostic tests more affordable and accessible to women.

Under current law insurance companies are required to cover preventative healthcare with no copays, including health screenings such as mammograms. If a breast cancer screening shows that a woman may have breast cancer, a diagnostic test is required to determine whether or not cancer is present. Since diagnosis is a separate process from screening, insurance companies are not required to cover diagnostic exams with no copays. This leaves some women in a situation where their doctor suspects they have breast cancer, but they can’t afford to pay for the actual diagnosis.

The bipartisan Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act requires insurance companies to cover breast cancer diagnosis in the same way screenings are covered.

“One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime,” said Dingell. “Early diagnosis leads to better outcomes. Cost should never stand in the way of a women getting the diagnostic tests she needs. This bipartisan legislation will make diagnosis more affordable and accessible to every American by covering it the same way screenings are covered.”

“While progress has been made toward early detection, improved treatment and increased survival rates, much more must be done. In fact, my own daughter was fortunate that early diagnostic detection allowed doctors to discover a tumor that was not discovered on a mammogram. This legislation will go a long way to ensure that diagnostic screenings are more affordable and accessible,” said King.

“I know from personal experience the fear and stress that comes with suspecting you have breast cancer - patients should not have to additionally worry about affording the diagnostic test necessary to determine if cancer is present. Getting a breast cancer diagnosis should never be conditional on someone’s financial status. The Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act is a critical and urgent fix to ensure patients have fundamental access to diagnostic exams,” said Wasserman Schultz.

“Consistency within health care policy is vital to protecting patient access to treatment,” said Fitzpatrick. “By expanding access to breast cancer diagnostic testing in the same manner as preventative screening, we can eliminate undue financial obstacles and increase access to the medical care that women need.”

“When dealing with potential breast cancer, women should have access to diagnostic health services as part of their insurance plan,” said Allred. “This is personal for me, as my mother is a breast cancer survivor. Our bill closes an unnecessary gap in diagnostic coverage and is a positive step toward helping women get the health care they need.”

“About 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime, and early diagnosis is critical to getting those impacted the comprehensive care they need,” said McMorris Rodgers. “By requiring insurance companies to cover diagnostic breast cancer exams, in addition to already required screening exam coverage, we can break down the financial barriers to diagnosis and save lives.”

“Women across our country are delaying, or even foregoing, needed diagnostic exams due to the high and varying out-of-pocket costs,” said Paula Schneider, CEO, Susan G. Komen®.  “It does women little good to know they have something suspicious if they can’t afford the test(s) that will explain the findings or confirm the need for a biopsy.”


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