Op-ed calls for passage of a bill sponsored by Rep. Brett Guthrie that would increase innovative cancer screenings for seniors

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Federal legislation has been proposed to require Medicare to evaluate and pay for multi-cancer early-detection tests once they are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Currently, such tests are not covered by insurance.
“Congress has stepped in before and cut through this red tape to make coverage for mammograms and colonoscopies possible. It should do the same here by passing this bill,” Amanda Smart, executive director of the Colon Cancer Prevention Projectsaid in a Northern Kentucky Tribune op-ed.
Guthrie (WBKO image)

The bipartisan bill, which would be called the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Kentucky’s 2nd District and more than 200 of his colleagues in the House and Senate, Smart says.

Smart also says there are only five cancers for which we have common screening technologies, and that seven of every 10 cancer deaths today come from cancers for which there are no approved screenings.

“Huge clinical research programs are demonstrating the promise of new tests that can detect dozens of variations of the disease from the analysis of a patient’s blood. . . . Guthrie’s Healthy Future Task Force has proposed that seniors – the population group with the highest cancer susceptibility – must have access to these innovative blood tests,” Smart writes.

The passage of this legislation would be especially important to Kentucky, a state that has more cancer deaths than any other state in the nation. According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 10,000 Kentuckians will die from cancer this year alone.
Smart urged Congress to pass the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Screening Coverage Act this year.

“We now need politicians to recognize the urgency of this situation. If Congress doesn’t pass Medicare screening legislation before the end of the current Congress, the entire legislative process starts over from the beginning next year,” she writes. “It is our hope that this priority set by Congressman Guthrie’s thoughtful leadership, the Healthy Future Task Force, more than 200 bipartisan members of Congress, and indeed President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot, moves forward without delay.”

The measure is also supported by the Prevent Cancer Foundation and more than 400 organizations. The foundation explains says the bill needs to pass before FDA approval to “prevent significant patient access delays. If Congress decides not to introduce legislation until tests are approved by the FDA, patients could face several years of access delays.”
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