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Public Statements

Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2008

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


BREAST CANCER PATIENT PROTECTION ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - September 23, 2008)

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Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in strong support of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2008, introduced by my good friend and colleague from Connecticut, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, and I know she's been working long and hard on this legislation. I am very pleased that we're bringing it up this evening.

This legislation is very important. It would provide protections for women across America who suffer from breast cancer.

Under the bill, doctors, in consultation with their patients, would decide the length of time the patient should remain in the hospital after having a mastectomy and other types of related procedures, and not the insurance company.

This legislation does not mandate hospitalization, but instead, restores the right of patients to consult with their physicians and decide how long she should be hospitalized, based on medical appropriateness.

Presently, 20 States have implemented minimum stay requirements to varying degrees. As a result, some people may question why this legislation is necessary. This bill is not for the women who live in States or have insurance policies that provide these protections. It is for the women who do not. For these women, a Federal remedy is their only hope. Having access to appropriate medical care should not be dependent on the State that you live in.

Mr. Speaker, for the thousands of American women diagnosed with breast cancer each year, this bill would help put an end to what has come to be known as drive-through mastectomies.

In addition, the bill clarifies existing law on when a health insurer can or cannot issue a decision of non-renewal, discontinue or rescind a health insurance policy. The bill would also create a new consumer protection by setting up a new independent review process for consumers in the individual health insurance market in the event of a non-renewal, discontinuation or rescission of a health insurance policy. Insurers would be required to continue coverage under such policy until completion of the independent review.

Once again, I want to thank my colleagues who have worked so hard on both of these bills, particularly Ms. DeLauro, the bill's sponsor; and I also want to thank the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Mr. Dingell, who championed this cause during the patient's bill of rights debate, which some may remember--I certainly do. I also want to thank our friends in the minority, particularly Mr. Barton and Mr. Deal, for working across party lines to strengthen this bill. This is a very important bill, Mr. Speaker.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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