Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) issued the following statement today after the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released final recommendations that mammography screenings for women between 40 and 49 have a “C” rating:

“Yesterday, the US Preventive Services Task Force finalized their recommendations for when women should begin mammogram screenings to detect breast cancer. These guidelines indicate that screening for women under 50 is less beneficial in detecting breast cancer than for older women. However, because insurance companies often use these guidelines to determine coverage for these critical life-saving screenings, these new recommendations could potentially bar millions of women from getting coverage for screenings they need. Anticipating this lack of access, I worked with my colleague Renee Ellmers from North Carolina to introduce the Protecting A1515ccess to Lifesaving Screenings Act – the PALS Act – last year, which would effectively place a two-year moratorium on implementing these guidelines. The substance of this bill was included in the Omnibus legislation the House passed and the President signed into law in December, which will now give the patient advocacy and medical community a necessary two-year window to study the impact of these recommendations.

“Now that their recommendations are finalized and we have the moratorium in place, it is time for USPSTF, HHS, NCCI and CDC, expert organizations such as ACS and ACOG, insurance companies, patient advocates, and my colleagues in Congress to work together to ensure young women have access to life-saving preventive services, especially women from disadvantaged communities and populations.

“As a breast cancer survivor, I know how critical early detection and prevention is to fighting and beating this deadly disease, and I know we are all dedicated to that life-saving mission. This two-year moratorium will enable all stakeholders to clarify and address the confusion that multiple, disparate recommendations risks causing young women. I urge these groups and agencies to prioritize ensuring that their recommendations do not inadvertently prevent coverage and access to screenings for all young women who need them.”