Crapo, Bennet Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Coverage for Cancer Detection Technologies
Supports innovation in cancer diagnostic development and Medicare coverage for access to multi-cancer diagnostics
Washington, D.C.-- U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), member of the Committee, reintroduced S. 1873 the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, which would provide Medicare coverage for screening tests to save lives and costs to the health care system. The bipartisan legislation would ensure Medicare beneficiaries have coverage for innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop. Senators Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), also members of the Senate Finance Committee, are original co-sponsors of the bill.
“Overly-bureaucratic barriers to preventive
care can lead to poorer health outcomes and increased health care costs,” said Senator Crapo. “Health care decisions should be the result
of conversations between patients and their providers, and it is essential
Medicare provides patients access to innovative items and services entering the
health care marketplace as soon as they are available. Bipartisan legislation
is needed to both protect patients and taxpayers.”
“Early detection, multi-cancer tools will revolutionize our
approach to cancer screening, save costs to our health care system, and most
important, save countless lives,” said Senator
Bennet. “I’m pleased to join this
effort to ensure that our most vulnerable have access to these innovative tests
for early cancer detection under Medicare.”
than 31,000 South Carolinians are diagnosed with cancer each year, with roughly
two in five cases diagnosed during late stages. By ensuring that seniors
can access FDA-approved multi-cancer early detection tests, this bipartisan
legislation has the potential to dramatically increase the survival rates for
dozens of cancer-types, including those with few or no screening tests
currently available,” said Senator
Tim Scott. “As the Co-Chairman of the bipartisan Personalized
Medicine Caucus, I am proud to champion innovative solutions and tools
that allow us to better target care, saving lives and long-term costs.”
“Disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes persist in
communities of color who experience higher rates of incidence and death,” said Senator Cardin. “One reason
this disparity exists is because people of color have lower rates of routine cancer
routine cancer screenings declined during the pandemic, I am proud to support
this legislation to provide a pathway for
multi-cancer screening technologies that would help increase cancer screening
rates and reduce persistent racial disparities in treatment and outcomes.”
Congress has previously acted before to
ensure Medicare coverage for other cancer screenings, including mammography and
colorectal screenings. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection
Screening Coverage Act would:
· Create authority for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover the latest diagnostic technologies, once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests and future test methods that draw on samples of urine or hair;
· Maintain CMS authority to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage parameters for these new tests;
· State that new diagnostic technologies will supplement, not replace, existing screenings and will not impact existing coverage and cost-sharing; and
· Direct the Government Accountability Office to issue a report that tracks utilization and makes recommendations to expand usage.
Under current law, Medicare only covers preventive services Congress has explicitly authorized, or the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended. Without this legislation, it could take several years after FDA approval for Medicare to cover new early detection technologies for cancer. To ensure timely, consistent coverage of screening items and services, the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would establish a defined benefit category and reduce such delays, returning health care decisions to providers and patients. These new detection technologies will complement existing screenings and dramatically improve the country’s early detection capabilities for cancer.
The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection
Screening Coverage Act has the support of over
300 leading health care
organizations across the United States.
Representative Terri Sewell (D-Alabama) introduced similar bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives.
The bill text is available HERE.
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