Fight CRC Helps Get Screening Bill Reintroduced

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(updated June 29, 2017) Today the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, H.R. 1017, was reintroduced to the House’s 115th Congress. Reps. Charlie Dent (PA), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ) and Leonard Lance (NJ), all members of Fight CRC’s Congressional Advisory Committee, are the original co-sponsors of the bill. The bill was introduced in support of a national effort by Fight CRC, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and many other organizations and coalitions to see an unintended loophole in Medicare law removed that’s charging seniors unexpected fees when they receive a screening colonoscopy - a barrier preventing some from undergoing the procedure.

“Each year we continue to push for this bill to be passed because colorectal cancer impacts our seniors,” said Anjee Davis, president of Fight CRC. “This is a cancer that can be prevented with screening. The undo cost incurred when polyps are found for Medicare patients is inhibiting people from being screened. It was not the intention and should be fixed.”

Each time there’s a new Congress, bills must be re-introduced and co-sponsors secured. This is the third Congress to introduce the bill and support this effort which is not unusual or atypical of Congressional bills.

Last year this bill had 289 co-sponsors in the House -- up from 158 co-sponsors from the previous Congress’s bill. With such overwhelming support we are very hopeful to get this bill passed this year. Re-introduction does mean we start at 0, so we need the help of all of our advocates to push again for co-sponsorship!

At the close of last year, the House bill (H.R. 1220) received 289 co-sponsors (159 Democrat and 130 Republican). In the 114th Congress, the Senate introduced a companion bill (S. 624) thanks to Sen. Sherrod Brown that received 39 co-sponsors (30 Democrat, 8 Republican and 1 Independent). This increasing number of co-sponsors shows promise for the bill, which Carvin says is likely to be included in other legislation on a similar topic if the support continues to grow.

Fight CRC worked alongside Senate leaders to get the bill re-introduced in the 115th Congress and strategizing with Congressional Advisory Committee leaders and advocates to educate incoming members on the importance of the bill and why their support is critical.

“I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to correct an unfortunate glitch in current law and help save lives by encouraging more people to get colorectal cancer screenings,” added Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), co-sponsor of the bill and co-chair of the House Cancer Caucus. “The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Screening Act would waive Medicare’s cost-sharing requirement for screening colonoscopies. If you consider the relatively low cost of this preventative service versus the high costs of extensive cancer treatments and hospital stays that those suffering from colorectal cancer must endure, it’s clear this bill provides a commonsense and fiscally responsible way to save lives.”

On March 15, Fight CRC advocates will asking lawmakers to support the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act both in-person as part of Call-on Congress and as part of Virtual Lobby Day.

About Fight Colorectal Cancer

Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) is a national patient empowerment organization fighting for a cure. It was founded in 2005 by Nancy Roach, who navigated her mother-in-law through colorectal cancer treatment. Her passion spurred a national movement to rally colorectal cancer patients and their families to action. Known for activism, Fight CRC continues to grow and engage patient, academic, political, scientific, medical and nonprofit communities. With over one million colorectal cancer survivors in the USA, their mission is focused on advocacy, research, patient education and awareness. Their programs have have trained and supported thousands of advocates in every state and many others around the world. Fight CRC is a 4-star charity by Charity Navigator and 93 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to colorectal cancer programs.

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