Advocacy

FORCE advocates for families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in areas such as access to care, research funding, insurance, and privacy.

Advocacy > Advocacy Issues


Newsflash

July 31, 2020
Urged Medicare to allow use of non-invasive colorectal cancer screening test options in light of COVID; and, if a follow-up colonoscopy is needed, that it is covered with no cost-sharing for the patient.

7/20/2020
Joined 100+ patient and health care orgs to oppose a proposed Medicaid Rule that erodes prescription copay coupon assistance programs, a lifeline for people who depend on this aid for their medicines, and their health and well-being.

7/1/2020
Called on Congress to delay implementation of a new policy that would allow health insurers to exclude cost-sharing assistance from counting towards patients' out-of-pocket maximums.  

6/26/2020
Provided feedback on the “Preparing for the Next Pandemic” white paper asking that it address high out-of-pocket costs for oral anticancer drugs in future pandemic relief efforts.

Screening & Prevention

Take Action Now!

A number of government agencies and professional societies publish screening and prevention guidelines for people at high risk of cancer. The standard of care for individuals at risk of hereditary cancers includes genetic counseling and testing, increased screening, chemoprevention and/or risk-reducing surgeries. FORCE tracks and influences these guidelines as appropriate and provides the most current information about the recommended services and interventions.

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

FORCE Fights for Our Community, COVID Relief

The coronavirus pandemic has touched all aspects of American life, from education and employment to travel, hobbies and health care. For people with or at high risk of cancer, there are unique challenges. In additional to financial and familial stress, medical appointments have gone virtual, screenings and surgeries cancelled or rescheduled, and some treatments moved to the home setting to reduce risk for people with compromised immune systems.

Here at FORCE, we understand the struggles of our community and have been working tirelessly to help address those needs. In addition to moving our support and educational programs to virtual formats, we have been very active in advocating for policies that provide relief.

Screening & Prevention

ACTION ALERT: Preserve Breast Screenings for Women Ages 40-49

Hereditary cancers are often diagnosed at younger ages and are more aggressive than cancers in the average-risk population. Earlier screening is needed for women with inherited genetic mutations associated with increased cancer risk, Black women and women who were treated with radiation therapy for cancer as a child or young adult. This is why we are asking that you join us in supporting the reauthorization of two important laws—the PALS Act and the EARLY Act.

Screening & Prevention

Mammograms for Women Age 40-49 Preserved Until 2020

In 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released new breast cancer screening guidelines recommending that mammograms for “average risk” women begin at age 50. If implemented, women ages 40-49 may lose access to no-cost annual screening mammograms. FORCE supported passage of the PALS Act to preserve mammograms with no out-of-pocket costs for women starting at age 40 and continues to be a leader in efforts to preserve 100% insurance coverage of this lifesaving cancer screening.

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

High-Risk Individuals Often Struggle to Get Insurance Coverage of Health Services

The ACA guarantees coverage of certain cancer screenings at no cost to the patient. This has allowed many Americans to access care that they might not otherwise be able to afford. As some impacted by hereditary cancer have learned, however, insurers are not required to cover screenings beyond those mandated in the ACA. Members of our community often struggle to get coverage for earlier, more intensive screenings and risk-reducing surgeries. This is why FORCE created sample appeal letters for a variety of services.

Insurance Coverage & Barriers

ACA unconstitutional? What does this mean for preventive care and pre-existing conditions?

On December 14, 2018, a Texas district court judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unconstitutional due to a recent change in federal tax law. As part of the 2017 tax reform package, the ACA was amended to eliminate the penalty for not having health insurance. A lawsuit argued, “Once the heart of the ACA—the individual mandate—is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall.” The judge agreed.

Treatments & Therapies

Cancer Research Funding Preserved

Federal funding for cancer research has led to significant advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for patients. More than 14 million U.S. cancer survivors are alive today, largely due to the nation’s commitment to cancer research. The main sources of cancer research funding are the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which includes the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). FORCE is consistently involved in efforts to preserve or increase funding for these crucial programs.

Screening & Prevention

Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines Fall Short

In May 2017, FORCE submitted comments on the USPSTF Draft Recommendation Statement and Evidence Review for Prostate Cancer Screening. Finalized in May 2018, these recommendations are used by health care providers to guide screening and care, and to determine insurance coverage of specific preventive services. The ACA requires that any preventive service receiving a USPSTF rating of “A” or “B” must be covered by most health plans at no cost to the patient. As a result, these guidelines impact access to care for members of the hereditary cancer community.

Screening & Prevention

Ovarian Cancer Screening for High-Risk Women

Ovarian cancer accounts for more deaths than any other female reproductive system cancer. About 20% of these cancers are due to hereditary factors such as a BRCA genetic mutation. Women with inherited predispositions face greatly increased risk of this, and possibly other cancers. A number of tests have been evaluated as screening methods for early-stage ovarian cancer but none have proven reliable. In September 2016, the FDA released a Safety Communication recommending against the use of ovarian cancer screening tests. FORCE responded with a letter to the FDA and an official statement on the issue.

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