DeLauro, Fitzpatrick, Katie Couric introduce Find It Early Act of 2022

December 16, 2022
Today, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and award-winning journalist Katie Couric introduced their legislation, the Find It Early Act. This bill would ensure all health insurance plans cover screening and diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds and MRIs with no cost-sharing.

“It means a great deal to me to join Katie Couric, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and all of the breast cancer advocates here to talk about what we must do to detect breast cancer early and save women’s lives,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “As we all know, when it comes to surviving cancer, early detection is key – as 99 percent of women who receive an early diagnosis survive it. That is why today I am introducing the Find It Early Act, which would mandate all insurance providers to cover additional screenings including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs, with no cost-sharing.”

“Like one in eight women, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. On June 21, 2022, -- that became my reality. I feel incredibly fortunate that I was diagnosed early, but so many women find out too late. We must strengthen breast cancer awareness, specifically for women with dense breasts like me,” said Katie Couric. “Breast cancer is treatable, and 99 percent of women who are diagnosed early survive. That is why everyone needs to get screened. The Find It Early Act is a critical step toward bettering access to these life-saving screenings. I am incredibly thankful to Congresswoman DeLauro and Congressman Fitzpatrick for joining with me in this effort to save millions of lives.”

“The Find It Early Act is a step in the right direction towards preventing and eliminating breast cancer across the country,” said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation alongside Rep. DeLauro that will improve access to life saving screenings and increase the chances for early detection for all women.”

“For far too long, we have made people pay hundreds to thousands of dollars to access the vital breast imaging they require. This has often resulted in delayed diagnosis, whether they need the imaging due to a high risk of breast cancer, a previous breast cancer diagnosis or as follow-up to a suspicious finding on a screening mammogram,” said Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “The Find It Early Act means more breast cancers can be caught earlier because people will no longer be forced to pay out of pocket for this testing. We applaud Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Brian Fitzpatrick for their work to make access to necessary breast imaging more affordable and accessible.”

“At DenseBreast-info we hear from women all the time who find out they have dense breasts and that they would benefit from additional screening, but then discover they have to navigate getting approvals from their insurance providers - and begina frustrating cycle of phone calls, denials, appeals and more phone calls,” said JoAnn Pushkin, Executive Director of DenseBreast-info, Inc. “The Find it Early Act will help ensure that when a woman is told that her mammogram might not be enough – she will not have to struggle to pay for additional imaging, orchoose between household bills and a recommended test, or spread the cost of an MRI over one year, and skip the next year because the cost of the exam has strained her budget.”

“It is my pleasure to give a voice on behalf of many hundreds of dense breast cancer patients who have become advocates across this country to say THANK YOU Congresswoman DeLauro,” said Joseph J. Cappello, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. “We thank you for taking the initiative as a leader in our 18-year battle, by demanding the FDA take action on the new MQSA rule by the end of this month. Your leadership will save many hundreds of lives across the nation.”

“Study after study has shown that early detection of breast cancer saves lives,” said Dr. Rachel Brem, Chief Medical Officer, Brem Foundation to Defeat Breast Cancer; Vice Chair of Radiology and Director Breast Imaging Center, GW Hospital. “Still, a variety of barriers exist for women, preventing them from accessing essential screening and detecting cancers early. The bipartisan Find It Early Act will require private and government insurers to cover the exorbitant out of pocket costs often faced by high risk women who require screenings such as ultrasound and MRI to diagnose their cancer - removing this ‘hidden cost’ of breast cancer diagnosis.”

Unfortunately, when follow-up and additional screenings are needed because of their breast density, family history, or for any other reason, depending on their health insurance, the majority of women are forced to pay out of pocket for these additional screenings, which can cost more than $1,000. As a result, many who cannot afford this cost will choose to delay or forego these additional tests, which and that decision to delay screening can lead to later stage diagnosis. The Find It Early Act would ensure all health insurance plans cover screening and diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds and MRIs with no cost-sharing.

In October, DeLauro asked the FDA to provide an update within the week on the status of the development of the breast density notification rule. The FDA’s response arrived shortly after, acknowledging that the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) final rule would publish before the end of the 2022 calendar year or early 2023.

DeLauro and Fitzpatrick previously worked together on the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act that directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a nationwide reporting standard to require all mammography reports to include an assessment of breast density. This policy change was included in the Fiscal Year 2020 Consolidated Appropriations Act and is expected to be released by the end of this year or early next year.