Payne, Jr. Introduces Bill to Expand Life-Saving Colorectal Cancer Screenings

Mar 17, 2017 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C.Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10), Co-Chair of the Congressional Men’s Health Caucus, introduced legislation that will extend colorectal cancer screenings to underserved populations. The Donald Payne Sr. Colorectal Cancer Detection Act of 2017 provides Medicare coverage for U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved qualifying colorectal cancer (CRC) screening blood-based tests.

“Colorectal cancer screening reduces disease incidence and mortality, yet one-third of the screening-eligible population avoids screening completely due to barriers,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “My legislation will make it easier and more desirable for people to get screened for colorectal cancer, while saving money from the largely ineffective measures currently being used. This bill will not only close the gap in screening rates; it will save lives.”

In April 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a non-invasive test that detects the presence of a DNA marker that may be present in the blood of patients with colorectal cancer. However, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement for this test is not formally authorized despite the FDA’s rigorous review process.

The Donald Payne Sr. Colorectal Cancer Detection Act places all FDA-approved blood-based screening tests on equal footing with available screening methods and authorizes CMS reimbursement. Should CMS payment be authorized and full adoption occur, it has been estimated that 10,000 lives per year could be saved while enabling a savings of billions of dollars.

The legislation is named after Congressman Payne, Jr.’s father, the late Congressman Donald M. Payne, who died in 2012 from colorectal cancer that was tragically detected too late for effective treatment.