Studies have found that more than one in three adults reported delaying or forgoing health care because of coronavirus-related concerns

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), John Thune (R-SD), and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced legislation to promote the use of preventive health care services, like physicals, mammograms and other cancer screenings, and routine examinations. 

Studies have found that more than one in three adults reported delaying or forgoing health care because of coronavirus-related concerns. Other statistics show that the odds that a woman received a breast cancer screening were 20 percent lower in 2020 compared to 2019, and during the early months of the pandemic, health screenings for children decreased in frequency by 40 percent.

“As more than one in three adults reported delaying or forgoing health care during the pandemic, we must take action to make sure people are getting the preventive care they need. This bill would help us do this by launching a grant program, public health campaign, and task force to encourage the use of preventive care services,” said Klobuchar. “Following my breast cancer diagnosis earlier this year, this issue is personal to me. While I was fortunate to have caught the cancer at an early stage, that is not the case for many. As a result of delays in care due to the pandemic, doctors continue to see patients who have developed more serious conditions that could have been caught earlier. With this legislation, we have an opportunity to save lives.”

“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant decrease in routine medical visits. These procedures, screenings, and immunizations are not only crucial to the wellbeing of individuals and families, but they can also help reduce Americans’ overall health care costs,” said Collins. “Our bipartisan bill would strengthen education and outreach initiatives, particularly in rural and underserved communities, to encourage people to visit their medical providers and receive their regular check-ups.”

“We can always do more to promote preventive health care and make sure everyone has access to it. Whether it is cancer screenings, annual physicals, or flu shots and vaccines, preventive health care can have a positive impact on health outcomes and we should do all we can to enhance access to these services,” said Baldwin.

“Receiving regular health screenings from your doctor could save your life,” said Rounds. “My family has seen the importance of preventive health care firsthand as my wife, Jean, has been battling cancer since 2019. Unfortunately, thousands of American families share my family’s story and witness how a scheduled check-up can turn into lifesaving early detection of a horrific disease. The coronavirus pandemic caused many Americans to miss or delay cancer, chronic health condition and mental health care appointments. We must work to increase awareness of prevention and early detection services available in local, tribal and rural communities. I am proud to work with my colleagues, including Senator Klobuchar who is a cancer survivor herself, to increase preventive health care services across the United States.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a troubling decline in preventive care like health screenings and immunizations that are essential to early diagnoses, disease prevention, and effective treatments,” said Rosen. “Preventive care is critical to strengthening the health of our communities in Nevada, and that's why I'm proud to help introduce this legislation that will provide funding to improve access to these services, create a task force to address health disparities, and launch a new public education campaign highlighting the importance of seeking out preventive care.”

“Many folks in South Dakota had to delay or postpone routine checkups and elective procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Thune. “Delaying routine checkups can unfortunately lead to poor outcomes, so as we continue to emerge from the pandemic, it’s imperative that we help promote the use of preventive health care services. I thank my colleagues for joining me in making this issue a priority.”

“I’m pleased to support this legislation and am inspired by Senator Klobuchar’s leadership on an issue that has become personal to her as a cancer survivor,” said Smith. “This bill will promote the use of preventive care services like mammograms and cancer screenings and ultimately help lower health costs and keep people in Minnesota and across the country healthy.”

The Preventive Care Awareness Act would:

  • Award grants to states, territories, localities, and Tribal organizations to increase appropriate utilization and decrease disparities in preventive care services;
  • Establish a task force to develop recommendations addressing preventive care access during the coronavirus pandemic and future public health emergencies; and
  • Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to undertake a coordinated, focused public health education campaign to enhance access to preventive services, in collaboration with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

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