November 29, 2018

Duckworth Introduces Bill to Expand Coverage for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today introduced legislation to ensure breast cancer patients and survivors who have experienced a mastectomy are able to access custom breast prosthetics under Medicare. The Senator’s new Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act would provide coverage for custom fabricated breast prostheses, the only human body part not currently covered by Medicare, to the more than 144,000 women who undergo mastectomies annually.

“We can do so much more to help survivors of breast cancer return to health and achieve the best quality of life,” Duckworth said. “This legislation is an important step in continuing to expand healthcare coverage for women, and I’ll keep working to ensure survivors and all women have access to the healthcare they need.”

Over 3.1 million women in the United States have a history of breast cancer, many of whom suffer from unreconstructed breast loss. In 2018 alone, more than 260,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, which can require surgical breast removal. Currently, Medicare covers reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients, but not custom breast prosthetics for patients.

The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act is currently endorsed by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Susan B. Komen, Young Survival Coalition, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, Brem Foundation and Living Beyond Cancer.

Duckworth has been a champion for increasing access to health coverage for millions of Americans, supporting legislation to protect seniors and Americans with pre-existing conditions and expanding access to Medicare. Senator Duckworth has also been an outspoken opponent of attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act and take away health coverage for millions of Americans, drawing on her own experiences to highlight how certain communities, such as Veterans and people with disabilities, would be especially devastated by those bills.