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Sewell’s legislation to expand access to cancer screenings passes committee

New MCED screenings are emerging which hold the potential to detect dozens of forms of cancer with a simple blood test.

Rep. Terri Sewell on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
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U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell, AL-07, on Thursday celebrated as her legislation to expand access to cutting-edge cancer screenings for America’s seniors cleared a key hurdle. HR2407, the Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) Screening Coverage Act, was marked up and passed by the House Ways and Means Committee this morning, by an unanimous, bipartisan vote of 38-0.

“Cancer knows no political party, and I’m proud of the bipartisan and unanimous work of the Ways and Means Committee to advance this bill,” said Rep. Sewell. “After years of tireless advocacy, we are one step closer to expanding access to new, early detection cancer screenings for our seniors.”

“While my mother is no longer with us, I know that she is smiling down on us today,” continued Sewell. “The legacy of Nancy Gardner Sewell will live on in the millions of Americans whose lives will be changed by this legislation. What keeps me going is knowing that what we do today will save countless lives in the future and pave the way for a world without cancer.”

Thanks to cutting-edge scientific advancements, new MCED screenings are emerging which hold the potential to detect dozens of forms of cancer with a simple blood test. However, under current law, it could take more than a decade before Medicare has the authority to cover these screenings once they are FDA approved.

The Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare MCED Screening Coverage Act would create a pathway for Medicare to cover MCED screenings once they are FDA approved. In the 118th Congress, the bill’s Republican lead, Rep. Jodey Arrington, TX-19, surprised Rep. Sewell by naming it after her mother, the late Nancy Gardner Sewell, who lost her battle to pancreatic cancer in June 2021.

HR2407 enjoys the support of bipartisan majorities in both the U.S.House and Senate and is endorsed by more than 500 organizations across the nation. It is currently co-sponsored by 285 members of the House of Representatives and 62 Senators.

“We are pleased to see the House Committee on Ways and Means take a step toward passing the bipartisan Nancy Gardner Sewell MCED Screening Coverage Act,” said Dr. Karen E. Knudsen, CEO of the American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “We thank Representatives Jodey Arrington, R-TX, and Terri Sewell, D-AL, for continuing to champion this important legislation which has the potential to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Medicare enrollees and their families. In 2024, more than 2 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer and over 1 million of those cases are expected to be diagnosed in individuals over the age of 65. The Act creates a pathway to ensure timely Medicare coverage of new, innovative multi-cancer screening tests and expand access to early detection once clinical benefit is shown.”

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“The Prevent Cancer Foundation celebrates this important step in making access to MCED tests closer to reality for millions of older Americans,” said Jody Hoyos, CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation. “Thank you to Representatives Jodey Arrington, R-TX, and Terri Sewell, D-AL, for their leadership. The advocacy community will continue to support legislation that brings early detection to all because Early Detection equals Better Outcomes.”

“The Association of Cancer Care Centers (ACCC) greatly appreciates the House Committee on Ways and Means taking this important step toward passing the bipartisan Nancy Gardner Sewell Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (HR2407),” said ACCC Executive Director Christian Downs, JD, MHA. “We thank Representatives Jodey Arrington, R-TX, and Terri Sewell, D-AL, for their tireless advocacy on this important legislation. ACCC members are all too familiar with the toll cancer takes on patients when diagnosed at a late stage. Far too many patients have died because their cancer wasn’t caught early enough. Late-stage cancer diagnosis is often avoidable, and if cancers are caught earlier and proper treatment is administered, outcomes are typically more successful. This legislation will expand seniors’ access to advanced cancer screenings through the Medicare program—enabling earlier detection and improving outcomes.”

“We lose over 600,000 Americans every year to cancer, often because their cancers were detected too late,” said Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance’s President and CEO Audra Moran.“Many cancers, including ovarian cancer, have no recommended early screenings available. This status quo cannot stand. The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would ensure seniors’ timely access to MCED tests when they are deemed to be safe and effective by the FDA. Our nation’s health rests on equal access to quality healthcare and we’re grateful to the committee and its members for this important action today.”

A recording of Rep. Sewell’s remarks is available for media and broadcast purposes here. Watch it on YouTube here.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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