Published on April 4, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Berry, Managing Director of External Affairs
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – With the passage of the omnibus spending bill signed into law on Friday, March 23, 2018, Congress extended the expiration of a moratorium on current breast cancer screening guidelines from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) through December 31, 2019. This move follows a prior extension until January 1, 2019, protecting access to mammograms for women ages 40-49 for an additional year.
The current USPSTF screening guidelines could reduce access to breast cancer screening for women under age 50. According to the USPSTF, most women ages 40-49 do not need annual breast cancer screenings, giving a “C” grade for women in this age group. As insurers often use USPSTF guidelines to make coverage determinations, this could result in millions of women losing coverage for their mammograms, forcing them to pay out of pocket or avoid the exam altogether.
Medical experts agree that mammograms save lives. That’s why Congress passed the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act in December 2015. The PALS Act placed a two-year moratorium on the USPSTF guidelines so concerns from the medical community and patients could be properly addressed, maintaining access to mammography for women ages 40 and older with no copay. The original moratorium was set to expire in January 2018. With the passage of the omnibus spending bill, the moratorium is extended until the year 2020.
The Foundation recognizes the hard work of Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-20) and Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03)) for their leadership on this issue.
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® stands firm in our recommendation that all women of average risk begin breast cancer screening at age 40. We applaud this measure to ensure more women have access to affordable, lifesaving cancer screenings.