MITA Applauds Reps. Boustany, Barrow, Renacci, and Neal for Supporting Medicare Coverage of Low-Dose Lung CT

05.22.14

Washington, D.C. – The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) today applauded Reps. Charles Boustany, Jr. MD (R-La.), John Barrow (D-Ga.), Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Richard E. Neal (D-Mass.) for their leadership in advocating for Medicare coverage of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) for patients at high risk of lung cancer. In an op-ed published today in The Hill, the Congressmen ask, “If we can cut the leading cause of cancer death, shouldn’t we?

“We commend these Congressmen for their unrelenting commitment to provide Medicare beneficiaries with the same life-saving LDCT technologies as many individuals with private health insurance,” said Gail Rodriguez, executive director of MITA. “Lung cancer afflicts tens of thousands of Americans every year, but with this technology we have the power and opportunity to reduce lung cancer deaths by 20 percent. We urge the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to adhere to the evidence and provide coverage for LDCT for high-risk seniors nationwide.”

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which advises Medicare and Congress, has recommended LDCT for high-risk patients, and because the final USPSTF recommendation was issued before 2014, all private insurance payers will be required to cover the screening by January 2015.

LDCT for lung is already covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Energy (DoE) and a number of private insurers, such as WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield affiliates and Anthem affiliates. Several cancer organizations that represent diverse groups of patient advocates across the country have also voiced strong support for coverage, including the American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP).

A lung cancer diagnosis is often fatal because the majority of cases are diagnosed after the disease has already aggressively progressed. Right now, nearly 400,000 Americans are living with lung cancer. This year alone, an estimated 159,260 Americans are expected to die from lung cancer, accounting for approximately 27 percent of all cancer deaths.

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The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), a division of NEMA, is the collective voice of medical imaging equipment, radiation therapy and radiopharmaceutical manufacturers, innovators and product developers. It represents companies whose sales comprise more than 90 percent of the global market for medical imaging and radiation therapy technologies. For more information, visit www.medicalimaging.org. Follow MITA on Twitter @MITAToday.