Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) today unveiled legislation he has authored that would ensure preventative services, such as mammograms, could not be denied coverage for service by a group health plan or health insurance issuer as a result of federal guidelines.
At a news conference in Summit, officials with the North Jersey and Central/South Jersey Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® announced their endorsement of Lance's bill -- the "Safeguarding Access to Preventative Services Act of 2010."
Lance's legislation is a direct response to the announcement last year by U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that stated women should wait until they are age 50 before receiving a mammogram -- a recommendation that Lance and key cancer groups strongly oppose.
"My bill would ensure preventative services, such as mammograms, could not be denied coverage for service by a group health plan or health insurance issuer as a result of federal guidelines," said Lance. "While we don't know the cause or cure for cancer, we do know that early detection is still the best protection. My bill would make sure that women can't be denied coverage for the preventative screenings they need despite the misguided federal guidelines."
Deborah Q. Belfatto, Chief Development Officer, Komen North Jersey Affiliate, Nancy Healey, Executive Director, Komen Central and South Jersey Affiliate, Jan A. Huston, MD, FACS, Medical Advisory Council, Susan G. Komen for the Cure® North Jersey, and Lisa Berkower, Survivor, Chair, Komen North Jersey Race for the Cure® participated in the event.
"We wholeheartedly support the Safeguarding Access to Preventative Services Act," said Barbara Waters the Co-Chair of Advocacy for the North Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. "Congressman Lance's important legislation will guarantee women's access to live-saving screenings measures. Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It is important that we continue to work to increase awareness and maintain access to life-saving screening measures."
Lance's legislation would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from using any recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (or any successor task force) to deny coverage of an item or service by a group health plan or health insurance issuer.
Representatives from the North Jersey and Central/South Jersey Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® also pointed out that the federal guidelines conflict with expert advice in the medical and cancer prevention advocacy community. In fact, numerous organizations have spoken out against the Task Force recommendations and continue to promote early detection and mammography.