SENATOR, REPS. INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO HELP PREVENT MORE THAN 1,500 CANCER RELATED DEATHS A DAY

May 10, 2001
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), along with Congresswoman Sue Kelly (R-NY), and Senator Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, introduced H.R. 1809, The Cancer Screening Coverage Act of 2001 (CASCA). CASCA applies to private health insurance plans (ERISA, group, and individual health plans) and to the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan, requiring these plans to cover cancer screenings.

"According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1,500 Americans a day are expected to die of cancer," Rep. Maloney said today. "Cancer screening allows for the detection of cancer in its earliest form, when the cost of treatment is the least. It is estimated that the rate of survival would increase from 80% to 95% if all Americans participated in regular cancer screenings. The legislation we are introducing has the power to save thousands of lives."

"Through this legislation, we can reduce the number of cancer related deaths and increase survival rates of victims." Senator Feinstein said. "It is estimated that more than 500,000 Americans will die of cancer this year. But with appropriate screening, as much as one-third of these deaths could be prevented."

"Early detection is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against cancer," said Rep. Sue Kelly (R-Katonah). "According to the American Cancer Society, over 550,000 Americans are expected to die this year of cancer. More comprehensive coverage for screening procedures will lead to early detection and treatment and give hope to millions of Americans in their struggle against cancer."

 

Cancer today - the facts:

~ The anticipated number of new cancer cases diagnosed in 2001 is 1,268,000;
~ Cancer is the second leading cause of death among Americans;
~ Of all deaths in America, 1 out of every 4 is caused by cancer; and
~ Since 1990, more than 15 million new cases of cancer have been diagnosed.

CASCA - the facts:

 

CASCA is designed to increase the number of Americans who are covered for breast, cervical, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening. This legislation will increase the access to cancer screening exams for patients of private insurance and the Federal Employees Health Benefits plan. In the 106th Congress, this bill, H.R. 1285, had broad, bipartisan support. CASCA of 2001 is the same measure, plus it ensures that employees of the Federal Employees Health Benefits program are covered, that the Secretary of Health and Human Services has the regulatory authority to add screenings for other cancers when science advances, and it ensures that coverage information is provided to subscribers.

Coverage Requirements: Requires private health insurance plans to cover cancer screenings consistent with professionally-developed and recognized medical guidelines, specifically -

-mammograms and clinical breast examinations (for breast cancer);
-"pap" tests and pelvic examinations (for gynecological cancers);
-colorectal screening (for colon and rectum cancers);
-prostate cancer screening (for prostate cancers).

Coverage Expansions: Authorizes the U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to modify or update the coverage requirements by regulation to reflect advances in medical practice or new scientific knowledge. The coverage requirements may be updated for all cancers as new screening tools are developed based on the Secretary's own initiative or upon the petition of an individual or organization.

Prohibitions:

Prohibits health insurance plans from --

-denying an individual health insurance eligibility for the purpose of avoiding the requirements of the bill;
-providing monetary payments to encourage individuals to accept less than the minimum protections available;
reducing reimbursement because a provider provides care consistent with these requirements;
-providing incentives to a provider to encourage the provider to provide care inconsistent with the requirements.

Coverage Information to Subscribers:

Requires plans to provide subscribers full information on the extent of coverage, including covered benefits, cost-sharing requirements, and the extent of choice of providers.

 

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