Obamacare Covers Breast Cancer Prevention Meds

HHS issued guidance today clarifying that certain risk-reducing medications are covered in most plans.

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 13: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks during a press conference at the Erie Family Health Center on February 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Sebelius, with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, used the opportunity to promote cooperation between states and the federal government in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Add to Briefcase
Sophie Novack
Jan. 9, 2014, 10:41 a.m.

Cer­tain med­ic­a­tions that re­duce the risk of breast can­cer now must be covered un­der Obama­care.

The De­part­ment of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices is­sued guid­ance Thursday say­ing that most in­sur­ance plans are re­quired to cov­er the chemo-pre­vent­at­ive drugs tamox­ifen and ralox­ifene without co-pays or out-of-pock­et ex­penses for wo­men with an in­creased risk of de­vel­op­ing breast can­cer.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is­sued the cla­ri­fic­a­tion after ques­tions arose about wheth­er these med­ic­a­tions count as pre­vent­at­ive care, HHS Sec­ret­ary Kath­leen Se­beli­us and Flor­ida Demo­crat­ic Rep. Debbie Wasser­man Schultz — a breast can­cer sur­viv­or — wrote in a blog post Thursday.

The United States Pre­vent­ive Ser­vices Task Force, an in­de­pend­ent pan­el of ex­perts se­lec­ted by HHS, re­vised its re­com­mend­a­tion in Septem­ber to sug­gest the med­ic­a­tions be avail­able to wo­men at high risk for the dis­ease.

There is an ex­cep­tion to HHS’ policy, however: Grand­fathered plans — those that ex­is­ted pri­or to the pas­sage of the Af­ford­able Care Act — are not sub­ject to the same re­quire­ments.

The Na­tion­al Can­cer In­sti­tute es­tim­ates that in 2013 there were 232,340 new cases of breast can­cer in wo­men, and 2,240 in men. Cause and pre­ven­tion of breast can­cer in men is cur­rently less well un­der­stood.

Pre­vent­at­ive screen­ing is a point of em­phas­is for the Af­ford­able Care Act, as the law aims to pro­mote such treat­ments in a bid to cut total health spend­ing. But what treat­ments and med­ic­a­tions meet the law’s cri­ter­ia for pre­vent­at­ive care — and which ones get an in­clu­sion man­date in in­sur­ance plans — is a point of con­ten­tion for vari­ous med­ic­al con­stitu­en­cies try­ing to get their treat­ments un­der Obama­care’s um­brella.

What We're Following See More »
WITH LIVE BLOGGING
Trump Deposition Video Is Online
1 hours ago
STAFF PICKS

The video of Donald Trump's deposition in his case against restaurateur Jeffrey Zakarian is now live. Slate's Jim Newell and Josh Voorhees are live-blogging it while they watch.

Source:
SOUND LEVEL AFFECTED
Debate Commission Admits Issues with Trump’s Mic
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.

Source:
TRUMP VS. CHEFS
Trump Deposition Video to Be Released
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."

Source:
A CANDIDATE TO BE ‘PROUD’ OF
Chicago Tribune Endorses Gary Johnson
5 hours ago
THE LATEST

No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."

FUNERAL FOR ISRAELI LEADER
Obama Compares Peres to ‘Giants of the 20th Century’
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Speaking at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, President Obama "compared Peres to 'other giants of the 20th century' such as Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth who 'find no need to posture or traffic in what's popular in the moment.'" Among the 6,000 mourners at the service was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Obama called Abbas's presence a sign of the "unfinished business of peace" in the region.

Source:
×