ACG Update on Colorectal Cancer Screening Legislation: ACA Impacting State Law and Needs to Change

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    Northern-California-Stollman-Headshot-e1455823894146

    Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG
    ACG Governor for Northern California

    As ACG has updated you in the past, ACG is working with the GI societies and local advocacy groups to pass a California law prohibiting cost-sharing for a screening colonoscopy turning therapeutic, as well as when a patient undergoes a diagnostic colonoscopy subsequent to another colorectal cancer screening test.

    The “Health Care Coverage: Colorectal Cancer Screening and Testing (AB 1763)” was introduced by CA State Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson.  ACG has endorsed the bill, as it shares the College’s goals of removing the financial and structural barriers associated with lifesaving colorectal cancer screenings throughout the screening continuum.

    This legislation passed both the General Assembly and the CA State Senate.  However, Gov. Brown surprised all advocates by vetoing the bill.

    “The bill imposes no cost sharing mandate on health plans and insurance policies for colorectal cancer services that exceeds the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act.

    I understand the importance of preventive health care services, and in particular, screening for various types of cancer.  I believe, however, the cost sharing rules for those services as set in the Affordable Care Act are sufficient.”

    This veto is counter to patient care, improving colorectal cancer screening utilization rates in California, and ultimately, to logic.  Please let Gov. Brown how much this decision impacts his constituents and our patients.  Read the veto statement here.  Contact the Governor’s office here.  ACG will continue to fight for this bill on behalf of ACG members and your patients.

    This is why ACG continues to urge Congress to pass the SCREEN Act:  The SCREEN Act (S. 1070 and HR 2035) is unique in that the bill addresses these Affordable Care Act patient cost-sharing issues Gov. Brown’s rationale for the veto:  if a polyp is removed during a screening colonoscopy, as well as for a diagnostic colonoscopy subsequent to a positive finding from another colorectal cancer screening test.  The SCREEN Act also addresses recent Medicare cuts to colonoscopy. Please click here to urge your support for the SCREEN Act.

    Urge U.S. House Leadership to pass the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening legislation:  ACG is also working with the GI societies as well as state and national advocacy organizations in promoting a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).  The letter urges the U.S. House to pass and the “Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act” (HR 1220) before the end of the year.  HR 1220 removes cost-sharing when a screening colonoscopy turns therapeutic (polyps removed).  Reps. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and Rep. Charles Dent (R-PA) are leading this letter and asking their House colleagues to sign on.  Over 280 members of the U.S. of Representatives support this bill in the House.

    Contact your U.S. House of Representatives member and urge them to sign onto this letter!

    Neil H. Stollman, MD, FACG

    ACG Governor for Northern California

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