DENVER– Colorado Senator Michael Bennet hosted a discussion with cancer survivors, doctors and local advocates about the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act which he introduced in December of 2020.

Senator Bennet and Idaho Senator Mike Crapo re-introduced the Act in May this year, stressing the importance of multi-cancer screening and Medicare’s coverage of such services.

Senator Bennet said, “Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. I know from personal experience that early detection can make all the difference. This legislation will ensure that Medicare beneficiaries have access to the latest diagnostic technologies, which have enormous potential to save lives and costs to our health care system.”

Andi Dwyer, director of the Colorado Cancer Screening Program at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, said that this act would open doors to test for many different kinds of cancers, a simple screening that could save thousands of lives.

As of now, Medicare only covers preventative services Congress and/or the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended.

This act would offer the following to the public:

  • Create authority for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover the latest diagnostic technologies, once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests and future test methods that draw on samples of urine or hair;
  • Maintain CMS authority to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage parameters for these new tests; and
  • State that new diagnostic technologies will supplement, not replace, existing screenings and will not impact existing coverage and cost-sharing.

Without this legislation, it could take over ten years post-Food and Drug Administration approval for Medicare to cover new these new early-detection testing technologies for cancer.

The act is supported by over 300 healthcare-focused organizations in the U.S., including the following: Chronic Care Collaborative, Colorado Cancer Coalition, Colorado BioScience Association, Colorado Gerontological Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), Association of Community Cancer Centers, Cancer Support Community, Idaho Society of Clinical Oncology, National Alliance for Hispanic Health, National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF), Prevent Cancer Foundation, and Susan G. Komen®.

To read the full bill, click here.