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Bilirakis Bill to Ensure Patients in Need of Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Have Access to Lifesaving Treatment is Signed Into Law

January 3, 2020
Press Release

PRESS RELEASE:  January 3, 2020
CONTACT:  Summer Robertson  727-232-2921

Bilirakis Bill to Ensure Patients in Need of Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Have Access to Lifesaving Treatment is Signed Into Law

Congressman Gus Bilirakis is proud to announce that another bipartisan bill he co-authored has been signed into law.  The Patient Access to Cellular Transplant (PACT) Act will ensure patients in need of bone marrow or stem cell transplants have access to lifesaving treatment. For older Americans with blood cancers – like leukemia, lymphoma, and Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS), limited treatment options have been devastating. Medicare reimbursement rates simply weren’t enough to cover the costs of cell acquisition,  a lengthy hospital stay, and managing the intricacies of the transplant process from start to finish.  The PACT Act updates Medicare policy to reimburse hospitals for the cost of acquiring bone marrow and stem cells, the same way solid organ acquisition costs are paid.  This means that patients who may have otherwise died without these life saving treatments will now have access to the care they need.

Medicare policy simply hadn’t kept pace with technological advances; and tragically, this disparity threatened the lives of older Americans with blood cancers – often stripping them of hope for a cure.  Whereas physicians once had very few options to treat these patients, today, blood transplants offer a cure.   These treatments can be the difference between life and death, and I am proud that our new law fixes the problem and ensures access,”  said Congressman Bilirakis. 

Impressively, this is the 8th piece of legislation Bilirakis authored to become law in 2019, despite Republicans being in the minority party in the U.S. House of Representatives.  “I have always been a consensus builder, regardless of which party was in power or what distractions may exist,” said Bilirakis.  “Particularly when it comes to doing the right thing for patients and for our nation’s heroes, I will continue to reach across the aisle and get things done for my constituents and community.  The seven other bills Bilirakis co-authored that were signed into law during 2019 are listed below:

  • ACE Kids Act (H.R. 1226)
  • Ending One Ring Scams Act (H.R.3584)
  • Brand USA Reauthorization (H.R. H.R. 3851 )
  • Amendment to the International Trade and Arms Regulations to discontinue the embargo on the sale of weapons to Cyprus  (Amendment to S. 1790)
  • LAB Act (H.R.3584 )
  • Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act ( H.R. 2913)
  • Territories Healthcare Improvement and Integrity Act (H.R. 3631)

 

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