October 21, 1999
Today U.S. Congresswoman Jennifer
Dunn (8th Dist.--Wash.) released the following statement after U.S.
Rep. Bill Archer (7th Dist.--Texas), Chairman of the U.S. House Ways
and Means Committee, included Dunn's amendment to increase
reimbursement rates for preventative health care for women. The
amendment is part of the Medicare Balanced Budget Refinement Act,
H.R. 3075, considered by the U.S. House Ways and Means
Dunn's amendment would increase the pap smear
reimbursement rate from $7.15 to $14.60 and expand the program to
cover automated pap smear test systems. The last time the rate
increased was more than ten years ago; the current $7.15
reimbursement has not kept up with the cost of service.
"This is an issue of providing women with access to
preventative health services. Since the introduction of pap smears
in the United States, the death rate from cervical cancer has
decreased by more than 70 percent. This test is widely regarded as
one of the most successful cancer-screening services available.
Increasing the reimbursement rate will help more women better afford
this essential examination.
"My amendment also addresses access to innovation.
Medicare has been slow to incorporate new technologies already
approved for use in the United States. New technologies already
available in the market are more effective in identifying abnormal
pap smear readings and reducing the chance of a false reading.
Increasing the reimbursement rate will ensure that women receive the
preventative care they need," Dunn continued.
"Covering and reimbursing new technologies will
increase the availability of cost-effective treatments that provide
earlier detection. This will help save lives and provide hope to the
15,000 women who are annually touched by cervical cancer."