Bennet, Colleagues Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Coverage for Cancer Detection Technologies

Washington, D.C. — Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, along with Finance Committee members U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), reintroduced legislation to provide Medicare coverage for screening tests to save lives and costs to the health care system. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) Screening Coverage Act would ensure Medicare beneficiaries have coverage for innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop.

“I know from my personal experience with cancer that early detection can make all the difference and save lives,” said Bennet. “That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass this bill and ensure Colorado seniors on Medicare can access early detection, multi-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,” said Crapo.  “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. This bill has the potential to save and enhance lives, as well as to reduce long-term cost burdens for patients, families, and caregivers.”

“Early detection of cancer saves lives, so there should be no hesitation in allowing Medicare to cover the latest diagnosis tools once they have been shown effective,” said Cardin. “Newly emerging multi-cancer early detection testing also has the potential to reduce disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes that persist in communities of color, which experience higher rates of incidence and death due to lower rates of routine cancer screening.  I am proud to work with my colleagues to provide a pathway for multi-cancer screening technologies that would help increase cancer screening rates.”

Specifically, the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would:

  • Establish a coverage pathway under Medicare for certain Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved MCED tests, which can screen for dozens of cancer types, many of which currently lack an effective screening option;
  • Authorize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Medicare coverage for FDA-approved MCED screening tests, enabling beneficiaries to access these technologies, which currently lack a viable coverage pathway under the program;
  • Maintain CMS authority to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage parameters for these new tests; and
  • State that new diagnostic technologies will supplement, not replace, existing screenings and will not impact existing coverage and cost-sharing.

“Without systems driving us forward to ignite change, existing disparities and the number of cancers found in late stages are likely to remain stagnant. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Crapo, Bennet, Scott, and Cardin, and their commitment to innovation in cancer prevention and early detection to save lives,” said Jody Hoyos, CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.

"We applaud Senators. Bennet, Crapo, Scott, and Cardin for continuing to champion the MCED Act that provides a pathway to access to multi-screening technologies in Medicare once FDA-approved and clinical benefit is shown. For older Americans who are at higher risk for cancer, blood-based screening tests could innovate cancer early detection when survivorship chances are greater. Congress should prioritize this critical legislation to work toward our national goal of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone,” said Lisa Lacasse, President, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

This legislation also has the support of over 500 leading healthcare organizations across the United States, including the Colorado BioScience Association, the Colorado Cancer Coalition, the Colorado Gerontological Society, the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters, and the Colorado State Grange.

The text of the bill is available HERE.