TO H.R. 4680:
PROVIDING ANNUAL PAP TESTS TO
SAVE WOMEN'S LIVES ACT AMENDMENT OF 2000
Under current law, a Pap test and pelvic exam are covered by Medicare once every 3 years, unless you have had an abnormal Pap test or you are at high risk for cervical or vaginal cancer. This is clearly a disincentive for many elderly women on fixed-incomes to seek these tests annually.
Since we began using Pap tests, cervical cancer rates have dropped by over 70%. Yet half of women over the age of 50 do not have annual Pap tests; and consequently, 40% to 50% of all cervical cancer deaths occur in women over the age of 50. Twenty-five percent of all cervical cancer deaths occur in women over the age of 65.
On January 1, 2000, Medicare began covering annual Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests for men, so this amendment would provide the same coverage to women for annual Pap exams. It is a matter of fairness.
In January 1999, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (formerly the Agency for Healthcare Policy and Research) issued a report on cervical cancer that found that annual Pap tests reduce false negative test results and cervical cancer deaths.
There is no Congressional Budget Office score for this amendment, which was originally introduced as H.R. 4571, although I am requesting such an estimate.