Bill introduced by Senators Britt, Shaheen aimed at cutting breast cancer testing costs

By Williesha Morris

On Monday, U.S. Senators Katie Britt, (R-Ala.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) reintroduced the Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis Act. This legislation would eliminate co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses for breast cancer diagnostic tests.

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama estimates that 4,500 Alabama women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year. A Susan G. Komen Foundation study found diagnostic tests can cost a patient between $234 and $1,041.

In a press release from Sen. Britt’s office, insurance companies must provide coverage with no co-pay for breast cancer screenings but not for diagnostic testing. According to the release, 10% of patients need to undergo follow-up testing after a mammogram.

“This commonsense legislation would ensure that a warranted follow-up diagnostic examination is also covered by health insurers at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient,” Britt said in the release. “No woman across America should be faced with the impossible choice between affording basic necessities such as food or being able to confirm whether she has a life-threatening illness.”

“It is too hard and too expensive for people to get the breast imaging they require, a contributing factor to the nearly 44,000 breast cancer deaths expected this year alone,” Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen, said in the release.

A copy of the full text of the bill is here. Reps. Debbie Dingell (MI-06) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) recently introduced a companion bill, along with Reps. Colin Allred (TX-32) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-25).