CAP logo

About CAP navigation

CAP navigation

Text of letter to all members of Congress from CAP-led coalition:

June 23, 1999

As organizations committed to the prevention of disease and the enhancement of women's health, the undersigned organizations ask for your help in addressing Medicare's inadequate payment for screening Pap smears by becoming a cosponsor of the "Investment in Women's Health Act of 1999."

Fifty years ago, cervical cancer was one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women--and it remains a major killer of women worldwide today. The death rate in this country has decreased over 70 percent due largely to the advent of cytology screening by Papanicolaou (Pap) smears. But invasive cervical cancer is still all-too-frequently diagnosed. Even more troubling, there appears to be a trend of increasing rates in certain segments of the population after years of declining rates.

While Congress has established and expanded the Medicare screening Pap smear benefit, the federal payment policy has not supported community provision or promotion of the benefit. Medicare payment is currently capped at $7.15 nationwide while the actual cost of providing the service is between $13.00 and $17.00 in most laboratories. The "Investment in Women's Health Act" addresses this problem by setting a floor of $14.60 for Medicare payment for the Pap smear beginning in 2000. It is imperative that Congress signals its support for the Pap smear and the adequate payment for this critical test.

This legislation is gaining bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, and we urge you to join your colleagues in becoming a cosponsor. Please feel free to contact any of the organizations listed below if we can provide any additional information to you or your staff.


College of American Pathologists
American Society of Cytopathology
American Pathology Foundation
Papanicolaou Society of Cytopathology
American Medical Association
American Medical Women's Association
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American College of Nurse-Midwives
Center for Cervical Health
National Cervical Cancer Coalition
American College of Physicians - American Society of Internal Medicine
National Hispanic Medical Association
Native American Cancer Initiative
American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin
American Clinical Laboratory Association
CLMA: Leadership in Clinical Systems Management
Autocyte, Inc.

[Back to top]