In the past two years, nearly 250 facilities nationwide that offered mammograms had to close due to low Medicare reimbursement rates. Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, who lost two sisters to breast cancer, says the facility closures are unacceptable. In Iowa, some 23-hundred women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 500 will die from it. Many of those deaths could have been prevented through early detection with mammograms. Mammograms cost between 90 and 100 dollars but Medicare only reimburses facilities 69 dollars for each procedure. Harkin’s bipartisan legislation would increase the reimbursement level to 90 dollars. Harkin says a mobile mammography unit that serves thousands of women in a seven-county area around Cedar Rapids lost 75-thousand dollars last year.
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