In our effort to get colorectal cancer screening legislation passed at the state level we can forget to look at the effect of such a mandate. Thanks to an article published Wednesday, May 23 in the Maryville (Missouri) Daily Forum we have that opportunity.
In 1999 Missouri enacted HB 191 which, among other things, required health insurers and similar entities to provide colorectal cancer exams and laboratory tests coverage for nonsymptomatic persons in accordance with American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines. This caused Missouri to receive an “A” on the latest colorectal cancer legislative report card issued by the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance.
Missouri experienced a 10 percent decrease in the number of annual estimated colon cancer deaths since passage of HB 191. The number of colon cancer deaths went from about 1,300 in 2001 to an estimated 1,170 in 2007. “Missourians can be proud that out state is contributing to the drop in colon cancer deaths,” said retired Missouri State Senator Patrick Dougherty, the sponsor of HB 191 in 1999.
Sen. Dougherty added, “We know legislation makes a difference. The states like Missouri that require insurance coverage are also the states that have higher screening rates.” The article cited an ACS study released last May which found that screening rates in states with coverage laws had risen 40 percent faster between 1999 and 2004 than states without such laws.
We extend a late thank you to Sen. Dougherty and others in Missouri who worked to pass this legislation which is a vital part of the fight against colon and rectal cancer.
Go here to read the Maryville Daily Forum article.
Go here for information about HB 191.
Go here to see the Colorectal Cancer Legislative Report Card.