Local breast cancer advocates call on Congress to maintain breast health care access

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Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocates Stress Importance of Access to Cancer Screening

Breast cancer survivors and activists representing Susan G. Komen Northwest Louisiana traveled to the nation’s capital April 16, joining hundreds of breast cancer activists from across the country to remind our nation’s leaders of the importance of access to cancer screening programs — and to call on policy makers to ensure parity of insurance coverage between oral chemotherapy and traditional IV treatments.

Courtesy Photo
Courtesy Photo

“As the health care system continues to evolve, we cannot forget that many people continue to rely on vital safety net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program,” said Lindsay Dean, Executive Director “We cannot step back from our commitment to ensuring access to quality breast cancer screening and treatment.”

While on Capitol Hill for the day, the Komen NWLA delegation met with Congressman John Fleming and joined other delegations from across Louisiana to meet with Senators Vitter and Cassidy.

Komen advocates stressed the importance of maintaining the government’s commitment to vital safety-net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.  They also stressed the importance of ensuring parity between the way insurance covers oral chemotherapy, which often is governed by prescription drug benefit rules, and traditional IV treatments, which often have lower co-pays.

“Many new cancer drugs are out of reach for patients because of outdated insurance rules that class them as specialty drugs under their prescription drug benefits, requiring significant out-of-pocket costs for patients. Conversely, IV treatments fall under the patient’s medical benefits since they are administered at the hospital, and involve lower cost-sharing,” said Kelley Matkins, Mission Coordinator at Komen NWLA.  “Treatment decisions should be made by patients and their doctor based on what is the best medical option.  We should not force patients to make decision based on outdated insurance rules.”