The US Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee
has passed the Eliminate Colorectal Cancer Act (S.710), legislation introduced
by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC) and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass). The bill, with
the companion HR 1520 being mulled by the US House of Representatives, would
require all private health insurance plans to cover colon cancer screening
according to scientific guidelines for patients age 50 and over and for others
at high risk of developing the disease.
In a statement, the American Cancer Society noted, "It is
up to Congress to ensure that the barriers to life-saving colon cancer
screenings tests are removed. . . The bottom line is that this Act can help
prolong lives and prevent the pain and anguish cancer causes."