The following letter has been sent to the ranking members of the U.S. Senate who have been responsible for spearheading the health care reforms. Not only do I wish to share with you the actual letter, but I want you to take note of the wide level of support that these concerns have created within the prostate cancer community.

Joel T Nowak MA, MSW

July 16, 2009

Chairman Ranking

Dear Senators:

The undersigned organizations commend Congress and the Administration
for seeking ways to extend health benefits to all Americans, and to
make prevention the cornerstone of that effort. However, we are
concerned that the health care needs of males, and the prostate cancer
community, are not adequately addressed in the legislation currently
being considered. We are also concerned that these bills appear to
preempt state benefit laws that now require private insurers to provide
a number of critical services, including tests for prostate cancer, the
number one cancer in men.

Men’s health and well-being has a crucial financial and social impact
within American families and communities. This impact is highlighted
by an Administration on Aging study which found that more than half the
elderly widows living in poverty were not poor before the death of
their husbands.

[1] We also understand that health disparities exist and
that Healthy People 2010 made one of its core issues the elimination of
gender disparities.

Across all racial and ethnic categories, American men live less healthy
lives and die younger than American women. Engaging men in health care
has enormous benefits for women, children, and society.

Specifically, we encourage language within the final health reform
legislation that will address these concerns:

* Current state mandates on health insurance coverage must be
honored. The Essential Benefits Package as presently written (in the
House bill) will offer only those preventive services actively
recommended by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
However, the USPSTF does not recommend many services now required by
many different states. As just one example, at least 36 states require
private insurers to cover testing for prostate cancer. The 2006 Census
estimates found over 35 million men between the ages of 40 and 64 in
those 36 states. Those 35 million men now have coverage for prostate
cancer testing if they have health insurance. They will not be covered
under the Essential Benefits Package unless state mandates are honored,
and would therefore lose their right to understand their potential for
risk of the most prevalent form of cancer in men
* The Senate and House bills each establish means whereby
government will determine how best to proceed with prevention and
wellness activities in both the private and public sectors. In making
these determinations, advice will be sought by the heads of various
agencies, including the Office on Women’s Health. This highlights the
need for an Office on Men’s Health to advise, recommend and direct
wellness and prevention efforts for men and boys.


Accelerate Progress
Men’s Health Network
National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions
Out With Cancer – The LGBT Cancer Project
Prostate Cancer International
Prostate Cancer Foundation
Prostate Conditions Education Council
Prostate Health Education Network
Us Too International
Women Against Prostate Cancer
Zero – The Project to End Prostate Cancer

State Organizations:
Alaska – Alaska Prostate Cancer Coalition
Arkansas – Arkansas Prostate Cancer Coalition
California – California Prostate Cancer Coalition
Connecticut – Prostate Cancer Education Forum of Connecticut
Georgia – Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition
Hawaii – Hawaii Prostate Cancer Coalition
Kansas – Kansas Prostate Cancer Coalition
Maine – Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer
Maryland – Maryland Prostate Cancer Coalition
Michigan – Prostate Cancer Coalition of Michigan
Nevada – Nevada Prostate Cancer Task Force
New Hampshire – New Hampshire Prostate Cancer Coalition
New Jersey – Prostate Cancer Coalition of New Jersey
New York – New York State Prostate Cancer Coalition
North Carolina – Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina
Pennsylvania – Pennsylvania Prostate Cancer Coalition
Pennsylvania – Obediah Cole Foundation for Prostate Cancer
Virginia – Virginia Prostate Cancer Coalition
West Virginia – Dan Blue Prostate Cancer Foundation