WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) today praised the introduction of The Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (S. 5051) by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Ben Cardin (D-Maryland). This legislation has the potential to significantly reduce cancer-related deaths by enabling access within the Medicare program to an innovative screening technology that can identify many cancers currently going undetected. Today, over 70 percent of cancer deaths are from variations of the disease for which no recommended screenings exist.
S. 5051 creates a direct pathway for Medicare coverage of emerging multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests which, with a single blood draw, can identify many different cancers in their earlier stages. These tests will be an important complement to today's cancer screening infrastructure, in which available screenings exist for only five types of cancer. Currently, Medicare classifies cancer screenings as preventive services, which don't have a direct path to coverage.
"Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act, which commenced our collective War on Cancer. With new innovations on the horizon, we have the opportunity to make a tremendous stride toward reducing cancer deaths and eliminating health inequities," said Gary A. Puckrein, Ph.D., NMQF President and CEO. "Cancer takes the lives of more than 600,000 Americans each year, with disproportionate mortality rates in the African-American and Hispanic communities. Science is providing new opportunities to address this ongoing health crisis by reducing patient risk and improving quality of care. We now look to Congress to ensure access."
The Senate legislation joins House Bill H.R. 8845 introduced earlier this month, creating momentum on Capitol Hill toward enactment of a measure that could reduce cancer mortality rates and address long-standing inequities in cancer early detection and outcomes for communities of color.
Puckrein added, "Communities of color have tragically high cancer mortality rates for a number of reasons, including inadequate insurance coverage and inequitable access to preventive care. A multi-cancer early detection test, that relies upon a single blood draw, makes cancer screening significantly more accessible and more precise. Because seniors face a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with the disease, it is vital that Congress pass The Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (S. 5051) to modernize Medicare and strengthen our arsenal for fighting cancer."
About the National Minority Quality Forum
The mission of the National Minority Quality Forum is to reduce patient risk by assuring optimal care for all. NMQF's vision is an American health services research, delivery and financing system whose operating principle is to reduce patient risk for amenable morbidity and mortality while improving quality of life.