BCCRF is proud to announce our support and advocacy efforts toward the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. Originally introduced in June 2018 by Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Kathy Castor (D-FL), this vital legislation would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for individuals under 65 with metastatic breast cancer. Every year, breast cancer advocates from all over the country fight to have congress appropriate funds for this important bill by reaching out to their representatives and urging them to sign on as co-sponsors.
In detail, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act 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.
Over 40,000 women, and nearly 500 men die of breast cancer yearly, and 90% of breast cancer deaths are a direct result of metastatic breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer is cancer that has spread from the breast to any other part of the body — bones, liver, and brain are among the more frequent metastatic sites. Once breast cancer has metastasized, there is currently no cure; the average life expectancy for a metastatic patient is only three years, and the challenges of access to quality and affordable health care, both treatment and/or palliative, should not be an issue for anyone diagnosed with metastasis — there is simply no time to waste. The introduction of this bipartisan legislative effort speaks to the recognition of the importance of providing people living with metastatic cancer such access. BCCRF advocates are currently working with legislators to garner support for the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. Stay tuned for updates!