U.S. House Resolution: Continue Health Coverage for Certain Men with Incontinence and ED
The United States House of Representatives is considering a resolution that would protect Medicare and Veterans’ Administration (VA) benefits for men who need urological therapies after treatment for prostate cancer and other health conditions.
Previously presented in 2016, Resolution 812 was reintroduced to the House by Congressman Erik Paulsen, a Republican from Minnesota, on April 10th. It was co-sponsored by Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey.
According to the resolution, an estimated 2.9 million men in the United States have prostate cancer, and over 164,000 men will be diagnosed this year. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death for American men.
The Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA), along with the American Urological Association (AUA), supports the congressmen's efforts to advocate for men with prostate cancer through House Resolution 812. Dr. Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, SMSNA’s President-Elect, says, “There will be an estimated 19 million cancer survivors in the United States by the year 2024.”
In his presentation on cancer survivorship at this year’s inaugural AUA Annual Advocacy Summit, which took place in March 2018 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Sadeghi-Nejad requested unwavering support for cancer survivors from the audience of urologists, other medical specialists, allied health professionals, patient advocates, and policymakers. Other SMSNA representatives at the AUA Advocacy Summit included Drs. Ira Sharlip, Run Wang, Arthur Burnett, John Mulcahy, and Eugene Rhee.
Prostate cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy, and radical prostatectomy (the surgical removal of the prostate). Unfortunately, these treatments can have serious side effects, such as urinary incontinence and erectile dysfunction (ED). Such side effects can be devastating for men and their partners, leading to frustration, depression, and changed relationships.
Currently, Medicare and Veterans’ Administration benefits cover treatments for incontinence and ED, including surgery and penile implants. The resolution aims protect that coverage.
It adds that men who experience incontinence and ED from conditions other than prostate cancer – such as diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis – should be equally covered.
“[A]ny such coverage decisions should be based on data and made after careful review by medical experts with a critical eye toward the impact of coverage decisions on the Medicare and Veterans’ Administration populations,” the resolution explains.
The resolution is non-binding and not considered law at this time.
In a statement, Congressman Paulsen said, “Availability for our seniors and veterans to these treatments will help enable them to live fulfilling lives. I’m pleased to join Congressman Payne in calling on Congress to protect Medicare and VA coverage of these treatments and ensuring that decisions about their use rest in the hands of doctors and medical experts. I hope more of our colleagues from both sides of the aisle join us in this effort.”
“H. Res. 812”
(April 10, 2018)
Congressman Erik Paulsen
“Paulsen-Payne Measure Protects Quality of Life for Prostate Cancer Survivors”
(April 11, 2018)
“AUA Advocacy Snapshot: Week of April 16, 2018”
(April 17, 2018)
National Cancer Institute
(Last updated: May 30, 2014)