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Harkin-Led Effort to Cover Breast Cancer Prevention Medication Becomes a Reality

Administration announces implementation of Affordable Care Act prevention efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today welcomed the announcement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that under provisions he authored in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), women will be able to gain access to medications that will reduce the risk of breast cancer at no cost.

This coverage will go into effect September 2014 under the provision created by Senator Harkin in the health law which requires, for the first time, that the full range of recommended preventive services be covered by insurers with no cost sharing.  As a result, Americans now have access not only to these life-saving preventive medicines but also to cancer screenings, critical immunizations, tobacco cessation services, and much more without any out-of-pocket expense.  Harkin authored this provision, as well as the Prevention Title of the law, as Chairman of the Senate HELP Committee. Today’s announcement is in response to updated recommendations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in September 2013 that women who are at increased risk for breast cancer be provided these medications without cost-sharing.

“Today we are seeing another powerful example of the difference the Affordable Care Act will make in the lives of millions of Americans across the country,” Harkin said. “As someone who lost two sisters to breast cancer, I know how vital it is that women and their families have access to these life-saving medications. Ensuring that this medicine is available at no cost to consumers will make the difference in the lives of the millions of Americans that breast cancer touches every year. I look forward to the continued implementation of this and other critical provisions of the Affordable Care Act in the coming months, improving the lives of people in Iowa and across the country and transforming our sickcare system to a true healthcare system.”