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Prevention in Action: Multi-cancer early detection coverage bill, Rep. Raskin video and American Rescue Plan Act

April 2, 2021

Prevention in Action | Advocacy news for cancer prevention & early detection

Welcome back to your bi-weekly advocacy update! The Prevent Cancer Foundation’s advocacy newsletter (formerly “Power.Progress.Prevention”) is now called “Prevention in Action”—a name that embodies the difference you can make in cancer prevention and early detection by taking action with advocacy.

We appreciated your patience while we took a brief hiatus to redesign the newsletter and welcome our new policy and advocacy director, Caitlin Kubler. You can reach Caitlin with any questions or comments at Caitlin.Kubler@preventcancer.org. Thank you for being a valued member of our advocacy team and making your voice heard.


Prevent Cancer Foundation supports the introduction of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Screening Coverage Act of 2021

The Prevent Cancer Foundation applauds Representative Sewell (D-Ala.) and her colleagues, Representatives Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) for the introduction of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021 (H.R. 1946), which will remove barriers to innovative multi-cancer screening technologies for America’s seniors. 

This bipartisan legislation recognizes emerging advances in our nation’s fight against cancer by ensuring Medicare can make a coverage decision for new, innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop. 

Multi-cancer early detection (MCED) uses a blood test and our vast understanding of the human genome to help patients and their health care providers find cancer early, before it has spread to other parts of the body. The early cancer detection tests currently available and covered by Medicare detect only five cancer types, which means there are no early detection tests available for the majority of cancer types. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021 would:

  • Create the authority for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests and future test methods (like urine or hair tests), once approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Congress has acted before to ensure coverage for other cancer screenings, including mammography and colorectal cancer screenings.
  • Maintain CMS’ authority to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage parameters for these new tests.
  • State that these new tools will complement, not replace, existing screenings and that coverage and cost sharing will not be impacted.

The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act of 2021 has the support of more than 300 organizations, including the American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network, the National Minority Quality Forum, the Cancer Support Community, the Association of Community Cancer Centers, the Community Oncology Alliance and the Oncology Nursing Society. A diverse array of medical, community and public health focused organizations across the U.S. join with the Prevent Cancer Foundation in applauding the introduction of the Medicare Multi-Cancer Screening Coverage Act of 2021 and calling for action on this issue.

View our sign-on letter on the Prevent Cancer Foundation website. View the text of the bill here.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) and Dr. Darrell Gray on young-onset colorectal cancer screening

For National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), in partnership with the Prevent Cancer Foundation, shared his personal story in support of new cancer screening guidelines. In a video recently released, Raskin talks about how he was impacted by a colorectal cancer diagnosis when he was just 45.

As previously reported, colorectal cancer is on the rise in adults under the age of 50. Raskin recorded the video in support of the draft guidelines released in October 2020 from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which gives a “B” recommendation for colorectal cancer screening for people of average risk ages 45-49. There was previously no recommendation for this age group (the USPSTF maintains an “A” recommendation for people ages 50-74). The Prevent Cancer Foundation supports the new draft guidelines and urges the USPSTF to promptly finalize them. Until the guidelines are finalized, many people of average risk ages 45-49 may not have access to screening.

Raskin’s segment is followed by an appearance from Dr. Darrell Gray of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, who further discusses the rise in young-onset colorectal cancer, especially for African Americans. Dr. Gray stresses the need for earlier colorectal cancer screening as it is crucial to preventing cancer (by finding and removing precancerous polyps) or detecting it early, when successful treatment is more likely.

For more information on young-onset colorectal cancer, visit Too Young For This Sh*t. For more information on how your area is affected by this disease, read the Foundation’s report, Gut Check: Young-onset colorectal cancer in your state.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) into law. The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package includes several health care related provisions and delivers additional aid to relieve the financial burdens created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan expands the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplace premium tax credits to cover more middle-class people for 2021 and 2022. Specifically, ARP:

  • Removes the current cap that makes any family with income above 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ineligible for any tax credits
  • Ensures individuals below 150% of the FPL pay no premiums for any ACA silver plan

The new law will lower premiums for most people who currently have a Marketplace health plan. Those with Marketplace plans can also change their plans up to August 15. Additionally, those receiving unemployment benefits during the pandemic can also access ACA premium tax credits, regardless of income.

The American Rescue Plan also provides help for people who have lost their jobs and choose to use Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) to continue their former employer-sponsored health coverage through September 30, 2021. The ARP act provides aid to cover 100% of COBRA premium costs for a limited period of time.

The law went into place April 1, 2021 and will be in effect through 2022. Visit Healthcare.gov to learn more.


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