More than 175 members of Congress rallied this summer to support Medicare coverage of low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) screening for seniors at risk for developing lung cancer. Forty-four U.S. senators and 134 U.S. representatives signed letters urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to cover the screening.
In April, the Medicare Evidence and Coverage Advisory Committee voted against recommending LDCT scans out of concern that the risks outweigh the benefits. Many medical organizations, however, have endorsed the screening, including the American Medical Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Society for Clinical Oncology and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Last December, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended LDCT scans for long-term smokers age 55 through 80. The Affordable Care Act requires private insurance companies to cover the screening for high-risk individuals starting in 2015.
CMS will make an initial decision on the screening in November. The final decision is to be made in February 2015.