MITA applauds Congress for including PALS Act in spending bill

The Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA) has released a statement praising Congress for including the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings (PALS) Act in the $1.1 trillion, 2,000-plus page Omnibus Spending Bill announced earlier this week.

The PALS Act would create a two-year moratorium on implementation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendations on breast cancer screening.

“We are concerned that the breast cancer screening recommendations put forth by the USPSTF would severely diminish women’s access to mammography, a screening exam that has been proven to save lives through the early detection of breast cancer,” Patrick Hope, MITA’s executive director, said in the organization's statement. “This legislation provides an opportunity to safeguard access to this important life-saving technology and eliminate confusion created by the various breast cancer screening guidelines.”

Hope added: “If the current USPSTF recommendations are finalized, private insurance could severely restrict coverage and impose burdensome cost sharing for this effective, routine screening exam, which would be particularly detrimental for low-income women.”

The PALS Act was introduced in July 2015 by U.S. representatives Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.).

“It is wrong of the USPSTF to write off any young woman in her forties who wants to have a mammogram, and this legislation’s two-year moratorium will ensure we hear from the group most affected by these draft recommendations—young women under the age of 50,” Wasserman Schultz, a survivor of breast cancer herself, wrote at the time.

The American College of Radiology announced its full support of the bipartisan bill soon after it was introduced. Cynthia Moran, ACR executive vice president of government relations, economics and health policy, told Ellmers and Wasserman Schultz were “doing a great service.”

Click here for additional background on the Omnibus Spending Bill.