WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) on Monday reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would give metastatic breast cancer patients access to support and medical care years sooner than current law allows. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act would waive the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the 24-month waiting period for Medicare benefits for eligible individuals with metastatic breast cancer. U.S. Representatives Andrew Garbarino (R-N.Y.-02) and Kathy Castor (D-Fla.-14) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Cancer patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer don’t have the luxury of time to wait for their SSDI and Medicare benefits – they need support now. Our legislation would do away with unnecessary waiting periods and ensure patients get the care they need in their fight against cancer,” said Murphy.

“In Iowa, it’s estimated that 2,700 women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis annually,” said Ernst. “When patients are faced with fighting this devastating disease, the last thing they should worry about is red tape getting in the way of the treatment they are entitled to. This measure is a commonsense fix in the law to waive the waiting period so Iowans get the support they need as soon as possible.”

"Metastatic breast cancer devastates families and places an enormous physical, emotional and financial burden on those impacted. Women and men are dying while waiting for approved benefits they are already entitled to under the law," said Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. "We are grateful to Senators Murphy and Ernst for their bipartisan leadership to do away with this arbitrary waiting period once and for all. The thousands of NBCC advocates across the country stand ready to work with them to make certain this legislation becomes law."

The full text of the legislation is available here.