Wenstrup, Davis Introduce Bipartisan Bill on Medicare Virtual Colonoscopy Coverage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Brad Wenstrup, DPM (R-OH) and Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) introduced The CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act (H.R. 1298). This legislation would provide Medicare coverage for seniors who choose to be screened with a virtual colonoscopy (CT colonography, or CTC), and would remove a financial barrier to care now widely covered by private insurance.
“Early screening for colorectal cancer saves lives,” said Dr. Wenstrup. “Unfortunately, too many Americans fail to get screened because they feel current procedures are too invasive or they are unable to undergo the screening due to medical reasons. By covering an additional method of screening, Medicare can empower and equip seniors and physicians with another tool for preventive and lifesaving care.”
“The thought of colorectal cancer can be scary, but with screening and early detection this cancer is treatable,” said Rep. Davis. “With new, less invasive methods of screening there is no excuse not to have screenings as recommended by your physician.”
Of the cancers impacting both men and women, colorectal cancer (CRC) is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Yet approximately one third of those who are 50 and older, who should be screened for CRC, choose not to be tested, according to a report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Medicare refuses to cover CTC, despite that major studies, conducted in the U.S. and abroad, demonstrate CTC use increases screening rates and lowers costs.
Major colorectal cancer care advocacy groups and medical societies have joined in urging Congress to pass the CT Colonography Screening for Colorectal Cancer Act, including the American College of Radiology, the Colon Cancer Alliance, the Prevent Cancer Foundation, and the Colon Cancer Coalition:
“Medicare CT colonography coverage can jump-start screening by offering access to a less-invasive option that millions of screening age who choose not to be tested find more appealing,” said Michael Sapienza, President and CEO of the Colon Cancer Alliance.
"Colorectal cancer screening through less-invasive options like CT colonography is appealing to patients, especially the Medicare population. This test requires no sedation and people can go back to daily activities afterward. Covering this patient-centered option will help save lives," said Anne Carlson, Executive Director of the Colon Cancer Coalition.
“Most colorectal cancers start as polyps. Medicare-covered access to CT colonography can attract those who would otherwise not be screened, allow doctors to remove more polyps before they become cancers and help people avoid getting this deadly disease,” said Carolyn R. (“Bo”) Aldigé, President and Founder of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.
“CT Colonography is safe, effective, and comparably accurate to colonoscopy in most people —including those 65 and older. Former President Obama had this test. Medicare should follow the USPSTF’s lead and cover this exam,” said Judy Yee, MD, Chair of the American College of Radiology Colon Cancer Committee.