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Federal Health Legislation

This page provides summaries of legislation proposed in the 116th Congress affecting cancer-related Federal health care issues. In this section, you will also find proposed legislative initiatives for related Federal agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This page will be updated as relevant legislation is introduced.

Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screening (PALS) Act of 2019 (H.R. 2777, S.1936)

  • The legislation was introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz on 5/15/19 in the House and by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in the Senate on 6/20/19.
  • The bill would protect access to annual mammograms with insurance coverage with no-copay starting at age 40 by extending the moratorium on the United States Preventative Services Task Force breast cancer screening guidelines.
  • The bill was also introduced in the 115th Congress and the 114th Congress.

Cancer Drug Parity Act of 2019 (H.R. 1730, S. 741)

  • The legislation was introduced by Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) on 3/12/19 in the Senate and Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) on 3/13/19 in the House. The House bill was referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce and the Senate bill was referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to require group and individual health insurance coverage and group health plans to provide for cost sharing for oral anticancer drugs on terms no less favorable than the cost sharing provided for anticancer medications administered by a health care provider.

Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act (H.R. 647, S.2080)

  • The legislation was introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) in the House on 1/17/19 and referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce, and by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the Senate on 7/10/19 and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
  • A similar bill was introduced in the 115th Congress and passed the House on 7/12/18. It did not receive a vote in the Senate.
  • The legislation would require the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to establish Palliative Care and Hospice Education Centers and to provide support for projects that fund the training of physicians who plan to teach palliative medicine.
  • In addition, the Secretary is directed to establish a program to provide awards (“Palliative Medicine and Hospice Academic Career Awards”) to promote the career and development of academic hospice and palliative care physicians.
  • The bill would also require the NIH Director to develop and implement a strategy to expand research programs in palliative care across all NIH Institutes and Centers.

Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act (S. 562, H.R. 1370)

  • The legislation was introduced on 2/26/19 by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) in the House and by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) in the Senate. The House bill was referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce and the Senate bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
  • The bill provides for Medicare coverage of custom fabricated breast prostheses following the surgical removal of the breast (i.e., a mastectomy), including replacements of such prostheses. Currently, Medicare covers surgically implanted breast prostheses, as well as some external breast prostheses (e.g., post-surgical bras).

Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2019 (H.R. 1570, S. 668)

  • The legislation was introduced on 3/6/19 by Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) in the House and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in the Senate. The House bill was referred to the Committee on Energy & Commerce and the Senate bill was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
  • This bill waives Medicare coinsurance requirements with respect to colorectal cancer screening tests, regardless of the code billed for a resulting diagnosis or procedure.

Federal Firefighters Fairness Act of 2019 (S. 1942, H.R. 1174)

  • The House bill was introduced by Rep. Salud Carbajal, (D-CA) on 2/13/19 and was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor. A companion bill was introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE) on 6/24/19 and was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
  • The bill creates a presumption that a disability or death of a Federal employee in fire protection activities is the result of the performance of such employee’s duty. The list of diseases presumed as a result of duty include heart disease, lung disease, several cancer types, tuberculosis, hepatitis, and HIV.

Downwinders Compensation Act of 2019 (S. 776, H.R. 757)

  • The House bill was introduced by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) on 1/24/19 and was referred to the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill was introduced by Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) on 3/13/19 and was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • This bill expands eligibility for restitution that is provided to certain individuals who were exposed to atmospheric nuclear testing and developed specified cancers. Specifically, the bill expands eligibility to include qualified individuals who were exposed in any part of Clark County, Nevada, or Mohave County, Arizona.

Stopping Appealing Flavors in E-Cigarettes for Kids Act (SAFE Kids Act) (H.R. 1498, S. 655)

  • The legislation was introduced on 3/15/19 by Diana DeGette (D-CO) in the House and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in the Senate.
  • The bills would ban flavorings, other than tobacco, for e-cigarettes.

Tobacco-Free Youth Act (S. 1541)

  • The legislation was introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) on 5/23/19.
  • The bill sets the nationwide minimum age to buy all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and vaping devices, from 18 to 21.
  • On 6/26/19, the Senate Committee on Health Education, Labor, and Pensions approved the tobacco language as part of a larger health legislative package (the Lower Health Care Cost Act, S.1895).

Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019 (H.R. 293)

  • The legislation was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) on 1/8/19.
  • The bill would ban flavorings, other than tobacco, for e-cigarettes.
  • The bill would amend the internal revenue code to establish tax parity between all tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco and cigars.
  • Updated: