Reps. Castor, Katko Reintroduce Bipartisan Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

By: Congresswoman Kathy Castor Press Release

Today, U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor (FL14) and John Katko (NY24) reintroduced the bipartisan Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. This legislation would provide immediate access to support and medical care for individuals with metastatic breast cancer who already qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and are therefore eligible for Medicare. Under current law, these individuals must wait five months for SSDI and 24 months for Medicare benefits to take effect. This bill would waive both waiting periods, potentially improving outcomes for Americans with late-stage cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to the bones, lungs or other distant parts of the body. While there are some treatments, there is no cure. The average life expectancy of an individual with metastatic breast cancer is three years. 

“Breast cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, and 90 percent of breast cancer deaths are as a result of metastatic breast cancer (MBC). We must do more to invest in treatments and cures and increase access to affordable, quality care for individuals with MBC. Immediate access to treatment has the ability to improve outcomes for those with MBC, and our bipartisan bill would eliminate barriers and reduce current health disparities in care. The last thing that our neighbors should worry about when being diagnosed with MBC is when they’ll have access to critical care, and I’m glad to be working with my colleague, Rep. John Katko, to bring financial security to families and expedite access to care,” said U.S. Rep. Castor.

“I’m proud to join lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in introducing the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. Metastatic breast cancer is a truly awful and aggressive form of cancer that takes the lives of thousands of Americans every year. Current federal guidelines force individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to wait five months to access Social Security Disability Insurance and 24 months for Medicare benefits, leaving many without the healthcare and resources they desperately need. This commonsense bill would waive these waiting periods and allow individuals with metastatic breast cancer to have immediate access to critical support and medical care,” said U.S. Rep. Katko.

“Too many women and men in the U.S. have to deal with how to pay for treatment and provide for their families while they are dying from metastatic breast cancer,” said Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. “The National Breast Cancer Coalition and its members from across the country who have worked hard for years to address this issue are grateful for Representatives Castor and Katko’s leadership on this bill. It will make a significant difference for those who face this terrible situation.” 

Current cosponsors of the bill include: Frank Lucas (OK-03), Adam Schiff (CA-28), Joe Wilson (SC-02), Michael Turner (OH-10), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Gus M. Bilirakis (Fl-12), Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Jim Himes (CT-04), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Bill Keating (MA-09), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Filemon Vela, Jr. (TX-34), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Tom Emmer (MN-06), Glenn Grothman (WI-06), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Kathleen M. Rice (NY-04), Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Madeleine Dean (PA-04), Katie Porter (CA-45), Pete Stauber (MN-08), Van Taylor (TX-03), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Brian Mast (FL-18), Thomas R. Suozzi (NY-03), Ralph Norman (SC-05), Joe Morelle (NY-25), Andrew R. Garbarino (NY-02) and Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (American Samoa – AL).

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