Urges Bipartisan Support and Swift Passage, Allowing Women Access to Life-Saving Diagnostic Exams
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, applauds Representatives Patty Acomb (D-Minnetonka), and co-sponsors Heather Edelson (D-Edina), and Cheryl Youakim (D-Hopkins) for their leadership on vitally important diagnostic breast imaging legislation. The proposed bills would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic breast imaging following an abnormal mammogram result or other medically-necessary purposes.
“This legislation is an important step forward for women in Minnesota,” said Molly Guthrie, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “We see first-hand that women face hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for needed diagnostic imaging. As a result, many women do not seek care until the cancer has spread – making it deadlier and more expensive to treat. A woman should not have to choose between paying her electric bill or getting a medically-necessary ultrasound. This life-saving legislation will ensure timely access to diagnosis and treatment.”
Millions of women throughout the United States can access free, preventive screening mammography under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, if the results of a mammogram reveal an abnormality, follow-up diagnostic exams (such as an MRI, ultrasound, diagnostic mammogram) are needed to determine if the patient has breast cancer. Those exams can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs – all before treatment even begins. An estimated 12 percent of patients who receive annual screening mammograms get called back for diagnostic imaging. In Minnesota, 4,850 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021, and an estimated 640 will die of the disease this year alone.
“As a breast cancer survivor, I know first-hand how important early detection can be,” said Representative Acomb. “This bill will ensure no-cost diagnostic testing so hopefully all women can have the positive outcome I had.”
A Komen-commissioned study found the costs to patients for diagnostic tests range from $234 for a diagnostic mammogram to $1,021 for a breast MRI. Out-of-pocket costs are particularly burdensome to those who have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer, as diagnostic tests are often recommended rather than traditional screening mammography.