Urges Bipartisan Support and Swift Passage, Allowing Women Access to Life-Saving Diagnostic Exam
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, applauds Senator Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) and Representative Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) 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 purpose.
“This legislation is an important step forward for women in Texas,” 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 Texas, 20,900 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021 and 3,420 will die of the disease this year alone.
Senator Carol Alvarado (D-Houston) said, “I am delighted to author Senate Bill (SB) 1065 to ensure coverage for diagnostic breast cancer imaging. Last session, I worked with my house colleagues to pass legislation to require coverage for diagnostic mammograms and SB 1065 expands on these efforts by requiring coverage for additional types of screenings. Throughout my time in the legislature, I have always been an advocate for measures to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare, including women’s health. I look forward to continuing to lead on these issues and working with Susan G. Komen Foundation and my colleagues in the Texas Legislature to ensure passage for SB 1065.”
“No one should ever feel pressured to skip a cancer screening because they can’t afford it,” added Representative Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio). “Increasing access to health care must be our top priority and this bill makes important progress on that front.” 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.
Contact your Texas representative today and ask them to take action on the issue.