Susan G. Komen’s Center for Public Policy is urging Congress to pass pending legislation that will immediately help breast cancer patients before it ends its current legislative session at the end of the year.
Patient-centered bills and appropriation bills have been introduced in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, but have stalled thus far. Without action, significant barriers to care will remain, funding for needed programs is in question and patients will continue to be at a disadvantage.
Members of Congress must continue to hear from you and need to know that the passage of this pending legislation is critical. We need you to speak out and show your support for:
- EARLY Act Reauthorization (S.2424) – Originally signed into law in 2010, the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act empowered the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to identify gaps in education between young women and their health care providers, provide grants to local breast cancer organizations that work in assisting young women and create campaigns to educate the public that breast cancer is a disease that knows no age limits. Passed early this year in the House, this legislation must past the Senate or risks not being continued in 2021 and beyond.
- Increased Funding of Breast Cancer Research, Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Services – Congress has not yet passed the FY21 budget and must take action by December 11th to prevent a government shutdown. By increasing funding for breast cancer programs at the CDC, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD), we can end deaths from breast cancer once and for all. These programs are especially important now, when many people are facing financial insecurity and lost jobs and non-governmental investments in critical cancer research continue to decline due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.
- Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (H.R.2178/S.1374) – Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has moved outside of the breast to other parts of the body, most often the brain, liver, lungs and bones. It is terminal and current treatment focuses on quality of life and managing the spread of the disease. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act would immediately make Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits available to patients, instead of making them wait months or years. These patients often cannot wait the current wait times to receive these much-needed benefits.
- Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act (H.R.2428/S.3216) – Women who receive an abnormal finding on a mammogram have to get follow-up diagnostic tests to determine if the abnormality is cancerous. These diagnostic tests can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, even for women with health insurance. The Access to Breast Cancer Diagnostic Act, if passed, will require health insurance companies to cover the cost of the diagnostic tests so there is no out-of-pocket cost to patients who need them.
- Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R.1730/S.741) – If passed, insurance companies would be required to cover oral anti-cancer therapies the same way they cover traditional IV therapies. Oral medications are often more expensive for patients, making them unaffordable for many. There are many benefits to receiving oral therapies, including the ability to take them at home, and they are often the best treatment option for patients living with metastatic breast cancer.
Elected officials don’t know the importance of these policies if they don’t hear from you. There is enough time to pass these laws before the end of the year, so we hope you will join Komen in creating a sense of urgency and bringing relief to anyone who has been impacted by breast cancer.