Today, Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced the House version of the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early Detection, Research and Treatment (ALERT) Act (H.R. 6224). The bill is a modified version of the Senate bill introduced by the late Senator Edward Kennedy (D-VA) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) before health care reform was enacted.
In 2010, cancer is expected to be the leading cause of death worldwide. The 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act is the first comprehensive cancer bill since we first declared war on cancer nearly 38 years ago with the enactment of the National Cancer Act in 1971.
Representative Capps issued the following statement after introducing the bill,
“I am proud to join my colleague, Health Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone in introducing the House version of 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act sponsored by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. This legislation aims to fully bring our nation’s investment in cancer research and treatment into the 21st century. We have made tremendous progress since declaring a war on cancer in 1971 and although we have won many battles along the way, we have not yet won the war. This legislation is the next step in modernizing our efforts at developing treatments and cures; enhancing services for individual ranging from those who are newly diagnosed to long-term cancer survivors. We are excited to introduce this legislation and at the same time, pay tribute to the groundwork put down by the late Senator Kennedy for his valiant efforts in waging the war on cancer.”
The Colorectal Cancer Coalition is very pleased to see that Section 6 of the bill includes many of the provisions from the Colorectal Cancer Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment Act (H.R. 1189). Specifically, the new 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act includes the following colorectal cancer-related provisions:
- Establishment of a CDC program to conduct preventive health measures with respect to colorectal cancer
- Providing screenings for colorectal cancer to individuals who are 50 years of age or older; or are under 50 years of age and at high risk for such cancer
- Providing appropriate case management and referrals for medical treatment
- Ensuring full continuum of follow-up and cancer care for individuals diagnosed
- Improve training for health professionals in detection and treatment of colorectal cancer
- Dissemination of public information and education programs
- Requirements for matching funds and maintenance of effort
- Authorization of appropriations through 2016
- Optional Medicaid coverage of certain people who are screened and diagnosed with colorectal cancer
- Mobile medical van grant program to provide cancer screening services that are recommended with a grade of A or B by US Preventive Services Task Force in underserved communities
The 21st Century Cancer ALERT Act takes several steps to modernize cancer research, detection and treatment programs across all federal agencies and improves collaboration among the various entities conducting research and treatment activities.