NEW YORK – On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced legislation that would provide a path for Medicare coverage of multi-cancer early detection tests.
Called the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, the bill would allow Medicare to cover certain MCED tests following approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. Currently, these tests would not be eligible for coverage under Medicare.
The bill was reintroduced by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.). A companion bill, the Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives in March.
Similar bills were introduced in the House and Senate during the last Congress.
The bill would also establish that MCED testing technologies will supplement, rather than replace, existing screening tests like colonoscopy and mammography and that use of an MCED will not impact an individual's Medicare coverage for traditional cancer screening tests.
"Multi-cancer early detection testing technologies have the potential to provide a vital new tool in the fight against cancer, transforming the screening landscape to detect as many as dozens of cancer types, often long before symptoms even emerge," Crapo said in a statement. "Senator Bennet and I are reintroducing our bipartisan legislation to ensure Medicare coverage for these life-saving screening tools, enabling seniors from across the country to access proven multi-cancer early detection tests."
Also this week, the Prevent Cancer Foundation issued a letter to congressional leaders in support of the House and Senate bills.