Read the full article from the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee
“Congressman Dan Kildee, co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, today introduced bipartisan legislation, supported by Republicans and Democrats, to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can get their blood tested at no cost for toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals.
The Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act would require Medicare to cover PFAS blood testing at no cost to seniors. Last year, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommended doctors offer PFAS blood testing to patients with a history of elevated exposure to these toxins. However, these tests cost upwards of $600, and insurance does not generally cover them, meaning that patients often forgo testing that would allow clinicians to detect and better treat conditions associated with PFAS exposure. Further, by expanding access to PFAS blood testing, it will become more widely available and will lower costs for all Americans.
Exposure to PFAS has been linked to diagnosed high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and other serious health conditions. It is estimated that at least 16 million people in the U.S. have been exposed to PFAS through their drinking water.
‘My legislation, supported by Republicans and Democrats, is urgently needed to ensure those exposed to PFAS get the health care they need,’ said Congressman Kildee. ‘Many communities in mid-Michigan have been impacted by these forever chemicals. As we work to clean up harmful PFAS chemicals across the country, I am committed to ensuring Michigan seniors have access to these tests at no cost to them.’
‘PFAS chemicals represent a grave public health threat, and we must ensure that individuals in need have access to medical tests to determine exposure to these harmful, forever chemicals,’ said Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). ‘I am proud to lead the Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries and our seniors have access to testing, with my friend Congressman Kildee, who has been a fantastic partner on this important issue.’
‘Every American deserves to live in a safe and healthy environment, free from the harmful effects of chemical exposure. The Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act is a crucial step towards identifying and combating this pervasive threat among some of our nation’s most vulnerable,’ said Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). ‘By providing seniors with increased access to PFAS testing, we can empower them to take control of their health and well-being and work towards a future where PFAS contamination is a thing of the past.’
‘The Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act is a critical step towards protecting the health and well-being of our senior population. By requiring Medicare to cover and pay for PFAS blood testing, we are ensuring our seniors have access to the same preventative services as other important health screenings,’ said Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC). ‘The harmful effects of PFAS chemicals are well-documented, and it is our duty to prioritize the health of our seniors by providing them with the necessary tools for early detection and intervention. This legislation will empower our seniors to take control of their health and live with peace of mind.’
The legislation is endorsed by the International Association of Fire Fighters, the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, the American Association for Justice, the Environmental Working Group, On Your Side Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Quest Diagnostics.
‘On behalf of the nearly 338,000 professional fire fighters and emergency medical responders of the International Association of Fire Fighters, I would like to thank Congressman Dan Kildee for introducing the Expanding Seniors’ Access to PFAS Testing Act,’ said Edward Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters. ‘This legislation would ensure that fire fighters on Medicare who have been exposed to toxic PFAS get the testing they need. Fire fighters should not be denied access to critical healthcare screenings and services simply because they cannot afford them.’
‘Knowing our exposure is the first step in addressing toxic PFAS chemicals that are impacting our health,’ said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, Co-chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. ‘Blood testing is a surefire way to know we’ve been exposed to PFAS, but these tests are expensive, which makes it particularly hard for people on fixed incomes to afford them. We thank Congressman Kildee for introducing this bill, which will ensure more people can take the steps necessary to protect themselves against the harmful health effects of PFAS exposure.’
‘On the heels of a new alarming report that found nearly half of all U.S. faucets likely contain toxic PFAS chemicals, it’s clear that people need more tools to protect their health from the harmful impacts of these chemicals,’ said Bentley Johnson, Federal Government Affairs Director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. ‘Congressman Kildee’s Expanding Access to PFAS Testing Act is a critical tool to make sure more people can get tested for PFAS and take steps to get the medical care they might need as we continue to clean up contamination and prevent further exposure to these toxic chemicals.’
‘As communities grapple with the horrible effects of PFAS and look for ways to reduce exposure to these harmful chemicals, it’s critical that individuals have easy access to PFAS testing to determine their health risks,’ said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice. ‘We thank Congressman Kildee for leading the charge to make these tests free to patients.’
‘We’ve all been polluted with PFAS without our knowledge or our consent,’ said Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs. ‘For decades, the people charged with protecting us stood by while PFAS polluters poisoned every living creature on the planet, including all of us. EWG thanks Congressman Kildee for his leadership in holding polluters accountable and expanding access to this critical form of testing for those impacted by PFAS exposure.’
‘The Expanding Access to PFAS Testing Act is critical legislation that will empower healthcare professionals to provide evidence-based care for seniors exposed to PFAS. It’s also a needed first step to make PFAS blood testing more accessible and affordable to many more impacted Americans,’ said Dr. Kyle Horton, Founder and CEO of On Your Side Action. ‘We applaud the efforts of Congressman Kildee and all the cosponsors who are leading in the fight to protect our health and empower healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care to those exposed to these toxic forever chemicals.’
Congressman Kildee has led efforts in Congress to address PFAS chemical contamination. As founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Congressional PFAS Task Force, Kildee has previously introduced legislation to ban firefighting foams containing the dangerous chemicals in the U.S. and ensure access to health care for veterans exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals at military bases.”