WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, introduced a bipartisan bill alongside Republican lead, U.S. Senator Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), to provide metastatic breast cancer patients access to support and medical care potentially years sooner than under current law.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act would waive the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance and the 24-month waiting period for eligible Medicare benefits.
“People who have their entire lives turned upside down after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer shouldn’t have to wait to become eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicare coverage. There is a flaw in our health care system when too many people are dying or going bankrupt as they wait to access health care they so desperately need,” said Murphy. “I’m proud to join my colleague Senator McSally in introducing this bipartisan legislation to get rid of unnecessary waiting periods for patients who’ve received this devastating diagnosis.”
“Ninety percent of breast cancer deaths are as a result of metastatic disease, when the cancer spreads to another part of the patient’s body,” said McSally. “Breast cancer patients don’t have time to wait months or even years to access treatment. My bill would waive these arbitrary wait times and give patients the chance to fight their diagnosis faster and more effectively.”
"There are too many women in this country who have to deal with how to pay for treatment and how to support their families while they are dying from metastatic breast cancer,” stated Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. “The National Breast Cancer Coalition and its members from across the country who have worked hard to address this issue, are grateful that Senators McSally and Murphy have stepped up as leaders on this bill that will make a difference for women who face this terrible situation.”
The bill is supported by the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Representatives Peter King (R-NY-2) and Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) are sponsors of the House companion legislation (H.R. 2178).
Full bill text is available HERE.