Bill Would Force Approval Of Preventive Services

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imageA New Jersey representative has introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives legislation that would bar group health plans and health insurance issuers from denying coverage for preventive services, including mammograms as a result of federal guidelines. 
Called the Safeguard Access to Preventive Services Act (H.R. 4794) and brought to the House by Rep.Leonard Lance (R-NJ), the bill would protect mammography services from being denied or restricted by public or private health insurers as a result of the recommendations issued last fall by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), or any successor task force. "While we don't know the cause or cure for cancer, we do know that early detection is still the best protection,” Lance said upon introducing the legislation on March 9. “My bill would make sure that women can't be denied coverage for the preventative screenings they need despite the misguided federal guidelines.” The American College of Radiology (ACR) has spoken out in favor of the bill. James Thrall, MD, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, issued a statement that the ACR deems the practice of “allowing a small group of people, who may or may not have expertise in the particular subject matter, to publish periodic recommendations in a medical journal or via a Web posting,” and having those recommendations “serve as health coverage policy” unacceptable and potentially dangerous. The ACR believes that the USPSTF process must be changed, and that the bill is a significant step in a sensible direction.