Bipartisan legislation would waive prostate cancer screening cost-sharing for at-risk populations
Yesterday, H.R. 1826, the Prostate-Specific Antigen Screening for High-risk Insured Men (PSA Screening for HIM) Act was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Larry Buschon for support and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) with Representatives Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL) and Troy Carter (D-LA) as original cosponsors. This bipartisan legislative proposal would waive cost-sharing requirements for men with the highest risk of prostate cancer, focusing on Black men and those with a family history of the disease. The bill was previously introduced in the House by now-retired Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) and Representative Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.) in the 117th Congress.
If the bill passes, men at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer would be able to receive prostate cancer screenings without deductibles, copayments, or coinsurances. Early detection is critical for positive prostate cancer outcomes: if the disease is caught early, there is a nearly 100% chance of survival. When the disease is caught in its advanced stages, however, the likelihood of survival drops to just 31%.
ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, the American Urological Association (AUA), and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) are ongoing supporters of the bill and are working to pass legislation at both the state and national levels to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for prostate cancer screening.
“The PSA for HIM Act is a lifesaving piece of legislation that would significantly impact high-risk groups for prostate cancer for the better. Removing barriers such as financial roadblocks makes early detection more accessible and affordable for men, and helps save lives”, said Jamie Bearse, ZERO’s President and CEO. “ZERO is thankful to Representatives Buschon and Clarke for their continued support and work in the fight against prostate cancer.”
For the at-risk populations included in the legislation, this development could be critical to their likelihood of survival. According to a new American Cancer Society report, Black men are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with and over twice as likely to die from prostate cancer when compared to white men. The incidence of prostate cancer among Black men is 73% higher than in white men.
“As the largest urologic member organization in the world, the AUA is happy to support the reintroduction of the PSA for HIM Act,” said Robert Bass, M.D., the American Urological Association’s Legislative Affairs Committee Chair. “This legislation would increase access to prostate cancer screenings for certain men in high-risk populations by removing the cost-sharing burden imposed by insurers. By removing such a barrier, this legislation could help save thousands of lives each year.”
This legislation is one of the many ways ZERO, the AUA, and ACS CAN are engaged in combating the longstanding health inequities within prostate cancer. And, for men that have a family history of prostate cancer, a diagnosis is twice as likely compared to the average population.
“All who are at high-risk for prostate cancer and decide to move forward with screening after an informed decision-making discussion with their health care provider should have access to that screening with no required cost sharing,” said Lisa A. Lacasse, President of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). “No one should be at a disadvantage against cancer. The PSA for HIM Act will help remove barriers to prostate cancer screening. We will continue to push for policy solutions that help reduce health disparities across all cancers and end cancer as we know it, for everyone.”
In addition to this legislation at the national level, ZERO, AUA, and ACS CAN are also working to increase access to prostate cancer screenings at the state level. Most recently, bills were introduced in California and Texas that would ensure screening is available without co-pays or other cost-sharing. Last year, Illinois passed legislation to make prostate cancer screening available without co-pays or other cost-sharing, which will go into effect in 2024. Illinois will follow in the footsteps of New York, which in January of 2019 became the first state in the country to pass a law that supports full insurance coverage of the PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test, as well as Maryland and Rhode Island, all of which have eliminated co-pays or cost-sharing fees for prostate cancer screening.
For more information on advocacy efforts regarding prostate cancer across the nation, visit zerocancer.org/advocacy.
About ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer:
ZERO — The End of Prostate Cancer is the leading national nonprofit with the mission to end prostate cancer and help all who are impacted. ZERO advances research, provides support, and creates solutions to achieve health equity to meet the most critical needs of our community. From early detection to survivorship, ZERO is the premier resource for prostate cancer patients and their families to access comprehensive support, make meaningful connections, and take action to save lives. Our dedicated national and chapter staff is joined with a growing team of passionate volunteer champions to increase advocacy, awareness, and community engagement to ZERO out prostate cancer. ZERO is recognized with four out of four stars by Charity Navigator and accredited by the Better Business Bureau. ZERO spends more on programs than any other prostate cancer charity, dedicating 85 cents of every dollar to support, education, and research.
About the American Urological Association:
Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology and has nearly 24,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.
About ACS CAN:
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN engages volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to ensure that our cities, our states and our nation adopt evidence-based public policies that improve the lives of people with cancer and their families. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and advanced proven tobacco control measures. We stand with our volunteers, working to change public policy to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.