Reps. Payne, Dent Lead Letter Urging House Leadership to Consider Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act

Nov 28, 2016 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 90 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congressmen Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) and Charlie Dent (PA-15), today sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, asking them to bring H.R. 1220, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, to the House floor for a vote before the end of the 114th Congress. Congressman Payne, Jr. is the lead Democratic co-sponsor of the bill.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the U.S. and a cause of considerable suffering among the 135,000 adults diagnosed and nearly 50,000 who die each year from this devastating disease. Approximately 60 percent of cases and 70 percent of deaths occur in the Medicare covered population. … Colonoscopies are proven to prevent and detect colon cancer at earlier stages when treatment is more effective and can save lives. Any cost-sharing can be a major impediment to patients from getting screened, particularly seniors. This vital bill would help to ensure that every senior on Medicare has access to this lifesaving cancer screening, regardless of their ability to pay,” the members wrote.

“To date, 283 bipartisan members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 38 U.S. Senators signaled their support for a change in law to protect Medicare beneficiaries with their cosponsorship. For this reason, we ask that the bill be brought to the floor for consideration before the end of the 114th Congress,” the members concluded.

Seniors on Medicare currently face the prospect of an out-of-pocket expense totaling hundreds of dollars if a polyp is removed during a screening colonoscopy that is supposed to be free. For cost-sensitive seniors, this potential expense can be a deterrent to getting their recommended colorectal cancer screening. H.R. 1220, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, waives cost-sharing under Medicare for preventive colonoscopies, even if a polyp or tissue is removed. By reducing disincentives for screenings, the bill will improve health outcomes and save money for both seniors and taxpayers.

A PDF version of the full letter can be viewed here.

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