Garbarino Introduces Bill To Eliminate Waiting Period For Health Benefits For Those With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Government and Politics

January 26, 2023

Garbarino Introduces Bill To Eliminate Waiting Period For Health Benefits For Those With Metastatic Breast Cancer

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Andrew R. Garbarino (R-NY-02) today introduced his first bill of the 118th Congress, The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care ActCongresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) co-led this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Garbarino to eliminate waiting periods for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and Medicare coverage for those with metastatic breast cancer.

Specifically, this bill would eliminate the 5-month waiting period for SSDI benefits and the subsequent 24-month waiting period for Medicare coverage for individuals with metastatic breast cancer. Under current law, if an individual is found to be disabled for the purposes of Medicare and SSDI, they must wait 24 months to enroll in Medicare and wait 5 months to receive SSDI benefits. During this arbitrary waiting period, individuals with metastatic breast cancer face unwarranted hardships in supporting themselves, and their families, and receiving the appropriate medical care that they desperately need. As a result, individuals with metastatic breast cancer may never receive the SSDI and Medicare benefits they are eligible to receive as result of these waiting periods.

"In New York, over 16,800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and about 2,500 women die from the disease annually. Long Island has among the highest occurrences of breast cancer in the country," said Rep. Garbarino. "These numbers and the real people they represent make this issue deeply personal for me and for my constituents. Roughly 90% of breast cancer deaths are a result of metastatic disease and the life expectancy of an individual with metastatic breast cancer is anywhere between 4 and 36 months. Given this timeframe, it is outrageous to double the suffering of those living with this horrible disease by making them wait to gain access to health benefits that they are immediately eligible for. This bill waives these onerous waiting periods, relieving the potential financial burden on those with the disease, and allowing them to focus on fighting the cancer." 

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