Health

Imperative President Applauds New Bill to Protect Access to Lifesaving Breast Screenings

The Black Women’s Health Imperative applauds Representatives Renee Ellmers (NC-02), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) for introducing the “Protect Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act” (PALS Act). The bill, H.R. 3339, would prevent the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations for breast cancer screening from being finalized, retaining current breast screening guidelines which have been in effect since 2002. The draft recommendations are of great concern to women across the country and significantly add to the confusion around screening guidelines. The recommendations give annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” grade, meaning most women in this age group, according to the Task Force, do not need an annual exam. The “C” grade could also result in 22 million women losing insurance coverage for their mammograms, forcing women to pay out of pocket for the service, or skip it all together. The proposed legislation will prevent the recommendations from being finalized until concerns from the medical community and patients have been addressed. Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, opposes the USPSTF draft recommendations because they put the lives of Black women at risk. “Early screening is especially critical for black women because we tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer on average five years earlier than white women, are more likely to have our breast cancers detected later when they are more advanced, and are more likely to be diagnosed with the more aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer,” Blount wrote in a May 2015 article for the Pacific Standard. The Black Women’s Health Imperative, alongside 12 other organizations signed on to a petition urging Congress to protect access to mammograms for women under age 50. The petition, available at http://bit.ly/stoptheguidelines has so far generated signatures from thousands of individuals who stand alongside the Imperative and its partners. Please continue to spread the word about the petition to friends and family and urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor this important legislation. “We thank Reps. Renee Ellmers, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Marsha Blackburn for their leadership on this bill and standing up to protect women’s access to life saving breast cancer screening exams,” Blount said. “The two-year moratorium on finalizing these breast cancer screening recommendations the PALS Act would put in place would allow time for Congress and others to review concerns about the impact these recommendations would have on American women. That includes 22 million women between the ages of 40 to 49 years old stand to lose insurance coverage for their annual mammogram without additional cost if the guidelines are finalized and millions of Black women who have the highest rate of mortality from breast cancer.”

The Black Women’s Health Imperative applauds Representatives Renee Ellmers (NC-02), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) for introducing the “Protect Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act” (PALS Act). The bill, H.R. 3339, would prevent the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations for breast cancer screening from being finalized, retaining current breast screening guidelines which have been in effect since 2002.

The draft recommendations are of great concern to women across the country and significantly add to the confusion around screening guidelines. The recommendations give annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” grade, meaning most women in this age group, according to the Task Force, do not need an annual exam. The “C” grade could also result in 22 million women losing insurance coverage for their mammograms, forcing women to pay out of pocket for the service, or skip it all together. The proposed legislation will prevent the recommendations from being finalized until concerns from the medical community and patients have been addressed.

Linda Goler Blount, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, opposes the USPSTF draft recommendations because they put the lives of Black women at risk. “Early screening is especially critical for black women because we tend to be diagnosed with breast cancer on average five years earlier than white women, are more likely to have our breast cancers detected later when they are more advanced, and are more likely to be diagnosed with the more aggressive form of triple negative breast cancer,” Blount wrote in a May 2015 article for the Pacific Standard.

The Black Women’s Health Imperative, alongside 12 other organizations signed on to a petition urging Congress to protect access to mammograms for women under age 50. The petition, available at http://bit.ly/stoptheguidelines has so far generated signatures from thousands of individuals who stand alongside the Imperative and its partners. Please continue to spread the word about the petition to friends and family and urge your Member of Congress to cosponsor this important legislation.

“We thank Reps. Renee Ellmers, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Marsha Blackburn for their leadership on this bill and standing up to protect women’s access to life saving breast cancer screening exams,” Blount said. “The two-year moratorium on finalizing these breast cancer screening recommendations the PALS Act would put in place would allow time for Congress and others to review concerns about the impact these recommendations would have on American women. That includes 22 million women between the ages of 40 to 49 years old stand to lose insurance coverage for their annual mammogram without additional cost if the guidelines are finalized and millions of Black women who have the highest rate of mortality from breast cancer.”

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Imperative President Applauds New Bill to Protect Access to Lifesaving Breast Screenings

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