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LETTER: Medicare patients might get surprise bill after colonoscopies

Colonoscopies are proven to prevent colon cancer and save lives, including mine. Just a few weeks before my 51st birthday, I chose to get a colonoscopy, though I had no symptoms or family history of the disease. I was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer.

Though colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer, many people don't get these lifesaving screenings because of co-pays and other patient costs. While the federal health care law ensures private insurers

cover these potentially lifesaving screenings, a loophole exists for Medicare patients that could leave them with a surprise bill if a polyp is removed during a routine screening.

I want to thank my U.S. representative, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, for her support of cancer patients' issues, and for working to close this loophole. She and I were both speakers at Navigating the Gaps, which focused on how partnerships can remove barriers to screenings, and move us closer to the goal of having 80 percent of people ages 50 and older screened for colon cancer by 2018.

McCollum supports a bill that would remove the loophole for our seniors. I call on U.S. Sen. Al Franken to support this bill, too.

By removing this barrier, more seniors will get screened, resulting in fewer cases of cancer, reduced costs, and most importantly, more survivors of a disease that is easily detected and prevented.

Connie Kasella

Woodbury

Editor's note: Connie Kasella is a volunteer for American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN).

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