Sen. Smith Introduces Legislation to Expand Coverage for Lung Cancer Screening

WASHINGTON, D.C. [7/31/20]–This week U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.)–a member of the Senate Health Committee–introduced legislation to expand coverage for lung cancer screenings to help detect cancer in more patients earlier. Her legislation would require commercial health plans to cover lung cancer screenings for individuals 40 or older at no cost sharing to the patient. 

Sen. Smith’s legislation—Katherine’s Lung Cancer Early Detection and Survival Act—is named in honor of Minnesotan Katherine Bensen, who is courageously fighting stage 4 non-smoking, non-small cell lung cancer. Katherine is a daughter of former Minnesota U.S. Representative Rick Nolan.

Sen. Smith says that lung cancer is the number one cancer killer among men and women in America. 

“We need to take every possible step to fight this terrible scourge that is hurting so many of our loved ones,” said Sen. Smith. “Expanding coverage for lung cancer screenings for individuals 40 or older could help detect the cancer earlier, and save lives.

“I’m glad to name this legislation in honor of Minnesotan Katherine Bensen, who is the definition of strength, positivity, and hope. I send her and every person who is fighting lung cancer my love and support.”  

Right now, the law only requires coverage of lung cancer screening for individuals from ages 55 to 80 with a history of smoking. However, data shows that non-smoking populations also have high rates of lung cancer. And too often lung cancer is diagnosed late, when the disease is already at an advanced state. 

A house companion bill has been introduced by Congressman Brendan Boyle (PA-02).