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National Breast Cancer Coalition Applauds Senators Murphy and Ernst for Introduction of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act

April 22, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Breast Cancer Coalition is proud to announce bipartisan support for a bill to waive onerous health care waiting periods for those with metastatic breast cancer.

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) and its hundreds of member organizations around the country would like to thank lead Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) as well as original cosponsors Blumenthal (D-CT), Blunt (R-MO), Capito (R-WV), Hassan (D-NH), Shaheen (D-NH), Smith (D-MN), Tester (D-MT), and Van Hollen (D-MD) for supporting this vital legislation.

This bill would provide individuals with metastatic breast cancer who already qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and are therefore eligible for Medicare, immediate access to support and medical care. Under current law, these individuals must wait five months for SSDI and 24 months for Medicare benefits to take effect. This bill would waive both waiting periods. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to the bones, lungs, or other distant parts of the body. While there are some treatments, there is no cure. The average life expectancy of an individual with metastatic breast cancer is three years. Every year, more than 43,600 women and  530 men die from breast cancer in America. Approximately 90 percent of these breast cancer deaths are a result of metastatic breast cancer.

There are too many women and men 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 Murphy and Ernst have stepped up as leaders on this bill that will make a difference for individuals who face this terrible situation.”

The National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to ending breast cancer through the power of action and advocacy. The Coalition’s primary goals are to increase federal funding for breast cancer research, collaborate with the scientific community to implement new research models; improve access to high-quality health care and breast cancer clinical trials for all women and expand the influence of educated patient advocates in all aspects of the breast cancer decision making process. Click here for additional information about NBCC and its legislative priorities.