Congress Can Make Progress Against Cancer with Rare Bipartisan Bill

My Patient Rights > Congress Can Make Progress Against Cancer with Rare Bipartisan Bill

Congress Can Make Progress Against Cancer with Rare Bipartisan Bill

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. We know that detecting cancer early can result in better health outcomes for patients with cancer. In fact, early detection technologies have contributed to a drop in cancer death rates over the past 30 years. But we only have the tools to screen for five types of cancer— breast, cervical, prostrate, high-risk lung and colorectal. That leaves medical professionals with dozens of cancers that can’t be found until they are in their later stages.

Luckily, there are a number of companies that are developing blood-based, multi-cancer early detection tests (MCED). MCED tests will complement current screenings and detect many more types of cancers with a simple blood draw. Ensuring equitable access to these tests will be critical to realizing their benefits. However, even after these tests are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicare coverage for MCED tests could take up to a decade or longer if Congress doesn’t act.

Thanks to Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), Congress has an opportunity to provide a pathway to coverage for future FDA-approved MCED tests. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 1946) was introduced in 2021 by Rep. Ruiz, along with his colleagues Reps. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Richard Hudson (R-NC) and Jodey Arrington (R-TX). If passed, the bill will allow for multi-cancer early detection tests to be covered by Medicare in a timely manner upon approval by the FDA and once a clinical benefit is shown.

The bill has significant momentum in Congress. We were thrilled to learn that the bill has garnered the support of a bipartisan majority of members in the U.S. House of Representatives. We thank Rep. Ruiz for his leadership and urge swift passage of this critical piece of legislation.

To learn more about this legislation, click here.

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