Blood testing

A woman has blood drawn as part of medical testing.

(The Center Square) – One Alabama federal legislator is working to bring a House bill to vote by the end of the year.

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL, along with representatives Jodey Arrington, R-TX, Raul Ruiz, D-CA, and Richard Hudson, R-NC, penned a letter, along with 116 House colleagues, urging House leadership to have House Bill 1946 be brought to the floor for a vote at some point in the remaining days of the session.

Sewell introduced the resolution in March 2021, entitled the Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act, which would create a way for Medicare to cover emerging blood-based cancer screenings to detect cancer earlier. The bill, according to a release, has 257 House co-sponsors and 54 Senate co-sponsors.

As part of the letter, the legislators wrote, “No family in America has been spared the scourge of cancer.” They also wrote that seniors bear the highest incidence of cancer, and “we must bring urgency and action” to the cancer fight as the consequences of waiting “are too great.”

“We respectfully urge you to bring this bill to the floor this year and pave the way for a future where we win our war on cancer,” the delegation wrote in the letter.

The legislators wrote, according to the release, that in the United States cancer is the leading cause of death, and by detecting cancer early it could result in “less invasive treatments.”

Scientists, according to the release, have developed and are testing “innovative blood-based multi-cancer early detection tests. The tests would be able to screen for multiple cancers at the same time, including rate cancers.

However, the legislators wrote, companies that are engaged in developing the medical tools are pursuing U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, which could take several years before Medicare recipients could receive medical coverage for those tests.

The act, according to the release, addressed a misalignment in advances in science and Medicare coverage by allowing coverage for the tests. The legislators said the testing would “significantly reduce delays” for beneficiaries, while giving the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to use the tests proficiency to determine coverage.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.