Michigan Breast Cancer Survivors and Advocates Call on Congress to Maintain Commitment to Breast Health Care Access; Ensure Treatment Parity

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

GRAND RAPIDS – Local breast cancer survivors and activists representing Susan G. Komen Michigan (Komen MI) traveled to the nation’s capital March 9, joining over 100 breast cancer activists from across the country to remind our nation’s elected leaders of the importance of funding cancer research, maintaining access to cancer screening programs and to call on policy makers to ensure parity of insurance coverage between oral chemotherapy and traditional IV treatments.

“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 Erica Bills, 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 MI delegation met with Congressional staff representatives from the offices of The Honorable Debbie Dingell, The Honorable Michael Bishop, The Honorable Justin Amash, Congressman Dan Kildee, Congressman Tim Walberg, Congressman Bill Huizenga, Congressman, Congressman John Moolenaar, and Congressman Fred Upton and joined other delegations from across Michigan to meet with Congressional staff representatives from the Senate offices of Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow and Congressman Gary Peters.

Komen advocates stressed the importance of maintaining the government’s commitment to breast cancer research and 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.

“As residents of Michigan, we were thrilled to see Congressman Kildee’s name on the list of co-sponsors of H.R. Bill 1409, which supports oral parity legislation on a federal level. Many new cancer drugs are out of reach for patients because of outdated insurance rules that classify them as specialty drugs under their prescription drug benefits, requiring significant out-of-pocket costs for patients.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 Erica.  “Treatment decisions should be made by patients and their doctor based on what is the best medical option – not by which treatment protocol is less likely to bankrupt them based on insurance rules that haven’t kept pace with science.”

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About Komen Michigan
Komen Michigan is committed to saving lives and reducing breast cancer mortality in Michigan. Through targeted, culturally-relevant education programs, screenings, diagnostics, transportation, survivor support programs and events like Race for the Cure®, Komen Michigan has touched more than 85,000 lives in Michigan in 2015 alone. Over the last 20 years, Komen Michigan has funded $12 million in community breast health programs across 24 counties, filling the gap for much-needed services across the region. For more information, call 616-752-8262 or visit www.komenmichigan.org.