Congress passes vital colorectal cancer bill

Recognizing the importance of screening in preventing colorectal cancer, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides that screening must be covered with no co-pay or co-insurance; but ever since the law was passed ten years ago, there has been a glitch with that protection. During a screening colonoscopy, if the doctor finds and removes one or more polyps, the procedure is changed from “screening” to “diagnostic,” and the patient wakes up to find a hefty bill to pay.

For many years, Representative Donald Payne, Jr. from New Jersey has introduced legislation to fix this problem, and the Colorectal Cancer Alliance has aggressively advocated for Congress to pass it. Despite having strong bipartisan support with more than 300 co-sponsors in the House, the legislation has failed to become law. But now that is about to change.

Included in the year end spending bill passed by Congress Monday night, and likely to be signed by the President, is a provision that will correct what has come to be known as the “colonoscopy loophole.” While there will be a phase-in period, ultimately the original intent of the ACA will be achieved and patients can undergo this potentially lifesaving screening procedure without cost.

The Alliance wishes to recognize Representative Payne for continuing to fight for our community and to also thank all the advocates who have worked each year to support this vital legislation.



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