February 2, 2007

Rep. Davis Introduces Bills That Would Expand Coverage Requirements For Hospital Stay, Reconstructive Surgery After Breast Cancer Treatments

Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R-Va.) earlier this month introduced legislation (HR 119) that would require health coverage providers to expand hospital-stay coverage for a woman undergoing breast cancer surgery, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Under the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2007, insurers would be required to extend coverage for a minimum of 48 hours in the hospital, if requested by the patient and doctor, for a woman undergoing a mastectomy, lumpectomy or lymph node dissection. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who has called for extended hospital-stay coverage since 1996, said insurers often refuse to cover a hospital stay, forcing women to leave the hospital prematurely. Davis also this month introduced a bill (HR 113) that would require health insurers to provide coverage for women who undergo reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy. "Being a breast cancer survivor myself and having gone through a mastectomy, I can see how important these bills are," Davis said. She said the Democratic majority in the 110th Congress "enhances prospects" for the measures, adding, "They tend to be a little more free with wanting to do health care than we do on the Republican side." Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, said that Davis' bills "are not ... on our agenda," adding, "We don't focus our efforts on piece-by-piece reforming the health care system." Visco also said that Davis' hospital-stay bill could lead to a tendency for patients to remain in the hospital longer than necessary, adding, "I don't hear from women across the country that this is a problem" (Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/31).

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