NBCC Statement on the Passing of Congressman Alcee Hastings
We have lost another leader in our mission to end breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Coalition mourns the loss of Congressman Alcee Hastings, a compassionate leader and an outspoken voice for justice. We are grateful for Congressman Hastings’ longstanding commitment to NBCC’s mission to end breast cancer and for our partnership with him in working to ensure high-quality, affordable healthcare for all individuals.
NBCC is thankful for the decades of support Congressman Hastings gave to NBCC’s legislative and public policy agenda. For many years he led the Dear Colleague letter in support of the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Breast Cancer Research Program, an issue that remains one of NBCC’s highest legislative priorities. Congressman Hastings was a leader for our cause and a friend in our shared mission to ensure meaningful system change, transparency, and oversight of all issues that affect breast cancer and peoples’ lives.
NBCC, and the country, has lost a true leader, and a friend. Our condolences go to his family, and to all who admired and learned from him. He will be deeply missed.
A Closer Look at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act
Individuals with metastatic breast cancer should not have to wait for benefits they are entitled to. That is why NBCC made The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act one of its top legislative priorities and worked with Congress to get it introduced. Exactly what would it do? This legislation would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for SSDI eligible individuals with metastatic breast cancer.
Individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, even those under age 65, automatically qualify for SSDI benefits and Medicare as long as they apply and meet the following criteria, they: 1) must have been employed within the last ten years and 2) currently be unable to work due to their disability. However, meeting these qualifications does not currently exempt an individual from the 5-month waiting period required before they may begin to collect SSDI benefits. Individuals must endure an even longer waiting period — 24 months — before they can receive Medicare coverage once they are deemed eligible under SSDI. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act will waive these onerous waiting periods.
In 2001, Congress passed a bill to waive the Medicare waiting period and in 2020, it waived the 5-month waiting period for SSDI for individuals with ALS, thus creating a federal precedent for NBCC’s legislation. NBCC believes that both SSDI and Medicare waiting periods should be waived for eligible individuals diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act was first introduced in the 115th Congress (2018) as a House bill only, and then again in the 116th Congress (2019) in both the House and the Senate. In the 117th Congress the bill will be led in the House by Representatives Castor (D-FL) and Katko (R-NY) and in the Senate by Senators Murphy (D-CT) and Ernst (R-IA). We expect the legislation to be introduced very soon. Stay tuned for ways you can help us get this legislation passed.
2021 Virtual Advocacy Leadership Summit
Be a leader in the mission to end breast cancer. Registration is open for NBCC’s Virtual Advocate Leadership Summit this year on May 13-15, 2021. The exciting program will include skill-building workshops for advocates, updates from scientists on the latest research, and numerous networking opportunities. Attendees will hear from experts on topics such as moving the needle on disparities in breast cancer, the Artemis Project, and how the new Congress and administration will shape breast cancer policy. On Monday, May 17, we will host our Lobby Day Briefing and state delegation meetings. And on Tuesday, May 18, advocates will participate in a Virtual Lobby Day to ensure our leaders in Congress support our fight to end breast cancer.
Registration for the Virtual Summit is $150 per person, or $125 with a buddy discount. Register here.
NBCC increases federal funding for breast cancer research, monitors how research funds are spent, expands access to quality health care, and ensures that trained advocates influence all decisions affecting breast cancer. Join NBCC and thousands of others to keep breast cancer a priority for Congressional and state policymakers. Join our efforts today.