Press Release

June 22, 2023
Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Medicare Beneficiaries Receive Coverage for Cancer Detection Technologies
Bill supports innovation in cancer diagnostic development and Medicare coverage for multi-cancer diagnostics

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Finance Health Care Subcommittee, along with Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Finance Committee members Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)  and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) are reintroducing legislation that would provide Medicare coverage for screening tests to save lives and costs to the health care system. 

The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection (MCED) Screening Coverage Act would ensure Medicare patients have coverage for innovative tests that can detect multiple types of cancer before symptoms develop.  Bipartisan companion legislation (H.R. 2407) was also introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.  

“Early detection of cancer saves lives, so there should be no hesitation in allowing Medicare to cover the latest diagnosis tools once they have been shown effective,” said Cardin.  “Newly emerging multi-cancer early detection testing also has the potential to reduce disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes that persist in communities of color, which experience higher rates of incidence and death due to lower rates of routine cancer screening.  I am proud to work with my colleagues to provide a pathway for multi-cancer screening technologies that would help increase cancer screening rates.”

“Multi-cancer early detection testing technologies have the potential to provide a vital new tool in the fight against cancer, transforming the screening landscape to detect as many as dozens of cancer types, often long before symptoms even emerge,” said Crapo.  “Senator Bennet and I are reintroducing our bipartisan legislation to ensure Medicare coverage for these life-saving screening tools, enabling seniors from across the country to access proven multi-cancer early detection tests. This bill has the potential to save and enhance lives, as well as to reduce long-term cost burdens for patients, families and caregivers.”

“I know from my personal experience with cancer that early detection can make all the difference and save lives,” said Bennet.  “That’s why it’s so important for Congress to pass this bill and ensure Colorado seniors on Medicare can access early detection, multi-cancer screening tests.”

The MCED also has the support of over 500 leading health care organizations across the United States. 

“Without systems driving us forward to ignite change, existing disparities and the number of cancers found in late stages are likely to remain stagnant,” said Jody Hoyos, CEO of the Prevent Cancer Foundation.  “We appreciate the leadership of Senators Crapo, Bennet, Scott and Cardin, and their commitment to innovation in cancer prevention and early detection to save lives.”

“We applaud Senators. Bennet, Crapo, Scott and Cardin for continuing to champion the MCED Act that provides a pathway to access to multi-screening technologies in Medicare once FDA-approved and clinical benefit is shown. For older Americans who are at higher risk for cancer, blood-based screening tests could innovate cancer early detection, when survivorship chances are greater. Congress should prioritize this critical legislation to work toward our national goal of ending cancer as we know it, for everyone,” said Lisa Lacasse, President American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

The Medicare Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act would:

  • Establish a coverage pathwayunder Medicare for certain Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved MCED tests, which can screen for dozens of cancer types, many of which currently lack an effective screening option;
  • Authorize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to provide Medicare coverage for FDA-approved MCED screening tests, enabling beneficiaries to access these technologies, which currently lack a viable coverage pathway under the program;
  • Maintain CMS authority to use an evidence-based process to determine coverage parameters for these new tests; and
  • State that new diagnostic technologies will supplement, not replace, existing screenings and will not impact existing coverage and cost-sharing.

Bill text can be found here.