Advocacy saves lives by empowering people to express their views and concerns, access information and services, and defend and promote their rights and responsibilities. VBCF has a deep and rich history of breast cancer advocacy – Virginians who spoke up to make breast cancer a household word. Since our founding in 1991, our mission has never changed: we want to eradicate breast cancer. To accomplish this mission, one of VBCF’s two main program focuses is Advocacy.
Call to Action! Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act
VBCF is working with like-minded organizations across the country, through the National Breast Cancer Coalition, to enact legislation to waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare eligibility and the 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for individuals with metastatic breast cancer who qualify for social security disability.
The median life expectancy for patients with metastatic breast cancer is just 26 months, so these waiting periods create an undue burden on the patient and their families trying to receive timely access to quality health care services.
On Thursday, June 14th, Representatives Peter King (R-NY) and Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced H.R. 6114, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act. The bill was introduced with 35 original cosponsors. No Virginia Representatives have yet signed on to support this bill.
How can you help?
Contact your Representative in the House and ask them to join their colleagues by becoming an original cosponsor of this legislation. Have them contact Deena Tauster in Representative King’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 225-7896 to become an original cosponsor.
Pictured (from L to R): Decca Knight; Marylinn Minor, VBCF Board; Katy Sawyer, VBCF Executive Director; Jessica Ramirez, VBCF Board; Lisa DeFerrari, VBCF Board; Susan Seigel, VBCF Board Immediate Past President; Eunice Fenwick, Former VBCF Board member; Vernal Branch, former VBCF staff.
Seven Virginians, including VBCF Board members and several Karin Noss Scholarship recipients (VBCF’s advocacy scholarship), attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition 2018 Advocate Leadership Summit in Washington, DC April 28-30 and National Lobby Day on Capitol Hill on May 1.
Read VBCF Board Member, Jessica Ramirez’s recap and reflection on the 2018 Summit and Lobby Day.
2018 NBCC Legislative & Public Policy Priorities
$150 Million for the Department of Defense (DOD) Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP) for FY2019: As a result of NBCC’s grassroots advocacy, the DOD BCRP was created in 1992 to “eradicate breast cancer by funding innovative, high-impact research through a partnership of scientists and consumers.” The DOD BCRP is widely viewed as an innovative, unique, and efficient medical research model which has proven to be accountable to the public and has produced extraordinary results. NBCC seeks continued funding for this successful program.
A bill to add Metastatic Breast Cancer as a Qualifying Condition for Medicare Coverage. This legislation would waive all waiting periods for Medicare eligibility on the basis of disability for all individuals with metastatic breast cancer and provide Medicare health care coverage including drugs and biologicals and all interventions used for the treatment and alleviation of symptoms relating to metastatic breast cancer.
Preservation of the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program: Congress enacted the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act in 2000 after years of NBCC grassroots lobbying and influence. NBCC remains committed to ensuring all women and men screened and diagnosed with breast cancer through federal screening programs have access to the treatment they need.
PUBLIC POLICY PRIORITIES
Guaranteed Access to Quality Care for All: Ensuring access to quality, evidence-based health care has been a top priority of NBCC for many years and is an essential component of Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®. Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the NBCC grassroots Board of Directors approved a Framework for a Health Care System Guaranteeing Access to Quality Health Care for All which built on NBCC’s Principles for Quality Care. In 2010, NBCC endorsed and advocated for the passage and implementation of ACA which marked important steps forward in access to quality health care for individuals with, and at risk of, breast cancer. The Coalition opposes and will work to defeat any and all efforts to repeal the ACA or replace it with something less expansive.
Ensuring the Participation of Educated Patient Advocates in all Levels of Health Care Decision Making: NBCC continues to work to ensure that educated patient advocates who represent a constituency, have a meaningful “seat at the table” in all levels of healthcare decision making which affects their lives.