This Week – March 16, 2013

This Week in Washington DC:

  1. Legislation to Remove Cost-Sharing for Colorectal Cancer Screenings Introduced in the House: ACG encourages you to participate in the March 20th “United Behind a Cure Congressional Call-in.”

Legislation Removes Colorectal Cancer Screening Cost-Sharing for Medicare Beneficiaries
Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) on Tuesday introduced the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” (HR 1070). Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), and Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) also joined as original cosponsors. The bill eliminates Medicare beneficiary cost-sharing for those colorectal cancer screenings where a polyp is detected and removed. ACG applauds Reps. Dent, Fitzpatrick, Courtney, and Payne for introducing this bill as ACG has been advocating for over a decade to remove all cost-sharing for colorectal cancer screenings in the Medicare program. ACG thanks the GI societies and colorectal cancer patient advocacy groups for all of their efforts and advocacy on this issue as well.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (now known as the ‘ACA’) was signed into law in March 2010, the statute eliminated cost-sharing for all colorectal cancer screenings recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. However, when a polyp is detected and removed during the procedure – the whole purpose of the screening exam – this is no longer considered a “screening” for Medicare payment claims purposes. Thus, the Medicare beneficiary is subject to cost-sharing. The “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” eliminates this unintended consequence of the health reform law.

ACG is thankful for Reps. Dent, Fitzpatrick, Courtney, and Payne’s efforts to help increase colorectal cancer screening utilization rates in the Medicare population and remove financial barriers to screening. Please click here to read ACG’s letter to Rep. Dent supporting this important legislation.

Set your calendars: March 20, 2013 will be the “United Behind a Cure Congressional Call-in.” This project is sponsored by ACG, Fight Colorectal Cancer, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, the Colon Cancer Alliance, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association. Please contact your legislators on March 20th and urge them to support the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” (HR 1070). Learn more here.

Please stay tuned for further updates. Please also share and discuss your thoughts with fellow ACG members on the ACG GI Circle. To login and share your comments, go to gi.org and sign in as a member. Once you have done so, click here and then click the orange "Visit ACG GI Circle" button to be taken to the GI Circle site. If you have not yet activated your ACG GI Circle account, please email us at acgcirclefeedback@within3.com.

Contact Brad Conway, VP Public Policy, with any questions or for more information.

Brad Conway
bconway@gi.org
301-263-9000