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A Lifeline for MBC Patients: Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act Reintroduced in 118th Congress

The Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Access to Care Act, H.R.549/S.663, was reintroduced in the 118th Congress earlier this year by Reps. Andrew Garbarino (R-NY-02) and Kathy Castor (D-FL-14), along with Sens. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Joni Ernst (R-IA).

This legislation has a straightforward but profound goal – waiving the waiting periods for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare benefits for those living with MBC. This single act could vastly improve the quality of life for these patients and ensure timely access to essential care.

Under the current system, many MBC patients face significant hurdles when their disease progresses to a point that prevents them from continuing their employment. The devastating blow of a cancer diagnosis is often followed by an equally devastating financial crisis. Access to health insurance becomes a challenge, which is often tied to employment, and the financial stability of patients is left hanging in the balance.

At present, MBC patients are subject to a distressing five-month waiting period for SSDI and an additional, even more taxing, 24-month waiting period for Medicare benefits. This is where the MBC Access to Care Act comes into play.

Why is this bill so crucial? About one-third of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in the U.S. live at least five years after diagnosis. This means that under the current system, many patients are tragically passing away during these mandated waiting periods without ever gaining access to the financial and health care support they so desperately need and deserve.

It is a reality that strikes Susan G. Komen’s Center for Public Policy as profoundly unfair, and it is a reality we are determined to change. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act is not merely a piece of legislation; it is a lifeline.

Komen believes in standing up for the rights of all people living with MBC, and we are calling on each of you to lend your voices to this cause. We urge you to reach out to your federal legislators and ask them to support H.R.549/S.663. Let them know the MBC Access to Care Act is a non-partisan issue and something we can all get behind. It’s about ensuring those affected by MBC have access to the care and financial support they need without delay.

We need your help to advocate on behalf of the estimated more than 168,000 women and men living with MBC in the U.S. Click here to contact your federal officials today.