For Immediate Release
Dec. 7, 2020

Contact: Jennifer Harris | 512-773-7168


Legislation Will Modernizes Medicare, Improve Patient Access, Bring Cutting-Edge Innovation to Early Cancer Detection

AUSTIN, TEXAS—The Texas Health Care and Bioscience Institute (THBI) and Texas Rural Health Association (THRA) lauded the introduction of the Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 8845), noting the great promise of multi-cancer early detection screening tests as well as the legislation’s ability to improve health care access for seniors and rural communities while supporting cutting-edge innovation in the early detection of many cancers. Texas’ Rep. Jodey Arrington is the lead Republican co-sponsor of the legislation.

“Multi-cancer early detection screening tests are an example of the tremendous innovation, research and development from America’s bioscience community,” said Tom Kowalski, President and CEO of the Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute. “We’re grateful for Rep. Arrington’s leadership and his collaboration with colleagues to create a pathway to patient access for these new tests after they are approved by the FDA.”

“We should always look for ways to improve access to high-quality health care for Texas seniors and our rural communities,” said Kelly Cheek, President of the Texas Rural Health Association. “Rep. Arrington continues to lead the charge to reduce barriers facing rural Texans’, our seniors, and their doctors.”

The Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act (H.R. 8845) has been introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL), Rep. Arrington (R-TX), Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), and Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).

The Multi-Cancer Early Detection Screening Coverage Act will create a new coverage pathway for multi-cancer early detection screening tests so that when the FDA approves these tests, seniors will be able to access them and not have to wait up to a decade or longer after approval.

Currently, the benefits of early detection are only realized for five cancers with available screenings, which means there are no early detection screenings for the vast majority of cancer types.

Advances in early detection research are on the cusp of significantly improving our ability to find cancer earlier, with a simple blood draw. Multi-cancer early detection (MCED) tests have the ability to detect many cancers – before patients show symptoms.

A number of MCED tests are in development and will be available to the public in the coming years. However, even after their approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Medicare coverage for these tests - which are considered preventive care - could take up to a decade or longer if Congress doesn’t act.

THBI and TRHA noted that this is a fitting time for legislation to be introduced given that Dec. 7 - 11 is Cancer Screen Week, an observance that serves to promote the many benefits of cancer screening and early detection. 

About THBI

The Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute (THBI) is the Texas public policy voice for the healthcare and bioscience industry. Our membership consists of biopharmaceutical companies, research institutions, medical device companies, economic development entities and service companies providing unparalleled networking and synergy to effectively address the public policy needs of Texas’ growing life sciences community.

The Texas life sciences industry is committed to expanding the boundaries of science by discovering, developing and delivering innovative and needed medications to patients. It is the patient that is the ultimate beneficiary of such advances. The membership of THBI is dedicated to creating an environment where such discoveries flourish and thrive. 


About TRHA

The Texas Rural Health Association (TRHA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Abilene, TX, whose primary goal is to improve the health of rural Texans. Our organization is dedicated to providing leadership on rural healthcare issues throughout Texas.  Over the past few years, TRHA's focus has been on supporting programs that address key rural health issues, working with policy-makers, and raising awareness on news and policies affecting rural Texas.

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