What Do Those Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer Wish Others Knew?
By Pat Battaglia
From Erin B:
I’d like everyone to know there is a bipartisan bill in Congress now with over 200 co-sponsors. The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (HR 3183) expedites payments for those have been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This is especially helpful for young people diagnosed with MBC as well as many others.
THE METASTATIC BREAST CANCER ACCESS TO CARE ACT (MBC-ATC Act)
This bill eliminates the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits and subsequent twenty-four-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals with MBC, or breast cancer that has spread to areas of the body outside the breast and surrounding lymph nodes. Under current law, most individuals, including those with MBC, must wait five months after the onset of disability to begin receiving SSDI benefits and an additional twenty-four months to become eligible for Medicare.
This MBC-ATC Act is now before Congress for the third consecutive year. In the current congressional session, it was introduced by U.S. Representatives Kathy Castor from Florida and John Katko from New York, along with thirty-six other members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
Why is the MBC-ATC Act important? While MBC is treatable, there is no cure. Living with MBC often limits a person’s ability to maintain their employment and receive health benefits. Those who must retire early need funds to cover their living expenses and access to life-prolonging treatment. Waiting nearly two-and-a-half years to receive benefits is a significant burden for them. While many with MBC live for years, or even decades, after their diagnoses, survival rates vary. Some have died of the disease while waiting for their benefits to begin.
What can YOU do to help? Thank your congressional representative in your district for supporting the MBC-ATC Act. We are pleased to report that ALL congressional representatives from Central and Western New York have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill.
How do you find your representatives? Go to www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and type your zip code into the search bar. Their names and contact information will appear. Phone calls, emails, and written letters all have an impact, and combining them multiplies that impact.
You can make a difference!
For more information: www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3183
This story appeared in the Autumn 2022 newsletter, Voices of the Ribbon.