Thanks to our senators’ wives, Diana Enzi and Bobbi Barrasso, for speaking out last month about colorectal cancer. As an American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, I appreciate these two cancer survivors educating Wyomingites about colorectal cancer and encouraging screenings.
Colonoscopies are proven to prevent colon cancer and save lives, but any added costs can be a deterrent from getting screened. Skipping recommended screenings could mean a patient receives a later-stage colorectal cancer diagnosis that can be more expensive to treat and harder to survive.
Currently, Medicare fully pays for routine colonoscopies for the purpose of screening. But if a polyp is found and removed during the procedure—the whole point of getting a colonoscopy—the screening is categorized as a diagnostic exam and the patient must pay a share of the cost. This loophole, which applies only to seniors on Medicare, can leave a patient with a bill that could be as much as $300 out of pocket.
I encourage Wyoming senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso to co-sponsor the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act in Congress. This legislation will ensure seniors have the same access to colorectal cancer screening as those on private insurance. Let’s save lives from a disease that’s easily preventable.