The House passed H.R. 1570, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, by an overwhelming majority. This legislation, which AGA has been pushing for the past nine years, would fix the Medicare screening colonoscopy coinsurance problem when a screening becomes therapeutic and requires the beneficiary to be responsible for the coinsurance of the procedure. AGA, along with our partners ACG, ASGE and patient advocacy groups, have long argued that this glitch in the Medicare law was an oversight and needed to be corrected to ensure that beneficiaries would not be prevented from seeking lifesaving colorectal cancer screenings because of the cost.
This is the third time in the 116th Congress that the House has passed H.R. 1570 with the bill being attached to larger bills that were never taken up by the Senate. However, we are hopeful that passage of this legislation will provide momentum for it to be included in a must-pass package before Congress adjourns for the year. Congress is expected to pass a one-week continuing resolution to keep the government funded until Dec. 18. This would give congressional negotiators more time to reach an agreement on the funding package and possibly COVID-19 relief as well as any other health extenders. AGA will continue to push for inclusion of H.R. 1570 in this final package and fix this screening colonoscopy cost sharing problem once and for all.