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News: Legislative Updates

Colorectal Cancer Legislation Builds Momentum in Congress

Tuesday, July 18, 2017   (0 Comments)
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July 13, ASCA Government Affairs


The Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2017 (H.R. 1017/S. 479), sponsored by US Representatives Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Donald Payne, Jr., (D-NJ) in the House and Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the Senate, continues to build momentum in Congress. This legislation would correct an oversight in federal law that requires Medicare beneficiaries to cover the cost of their copayment for a “free” screening colonoscopy when a polyp is discovered and removed during the procedure. Currently, the legislation has reached 152 cosponsors in the House and 27 in the Senate. Many of these cosponsors were added as a direct result of ASCA members contacting their elected officials during ASCA’s National Advocacy Day.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths from colorectal cancer have declined for more than two decades mostly because of increased screenings, including colonoscopies and other tests. However, this preventable disease continues to kill 50,000 Americans each year and is the leading cause of cancer death among nonsmokers. The CDC estimates that if all precancerous polyps were identified and removed before becoming cancerous, the number of new colorectal cancer cases could be reduced by 76 to 90 percent.


ASCs play a vital role in ensuring patient access to preventive measures, such as colonoscopies, in a convenient and affordable setting. Today, ASCs perform more than 40 percent of colonoscopies covered by Medicare. They have the capacity to do more—when these life-saving procedures are performed in ASCs, both beneficiaries and the Medicare program save money because surgery centers perform the procedures at a lower cost.


For more information on colorectal cancer advocacy efforts, contact Heather Ashby at

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