A group of congressional members, with the support of eight medical associations, plans to introduce legislation next month requiring Medicare to pay for screenings for abdominal aortic aneurysm, which kills an estimated 15,000 Americans each year.
Medicare currently does not pay for such screenings except in emergency situations.
About 2.7 million Americans over the age of 60 are estimated to have the disease, 80% of them men, said a spokeswoman for the American College of Surgeons, which backs the legislation.
According to the college, screening for the disease would save Medicare money in the long term when compared to the cost of rehabilitating survivors of the disease. The American College of Radiology and the American Vascular Association also support the bill.
Members of Congress who have thrown their support behind the bipartisan legislation include Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. James Greenwood (R-Pa.). Calls to their offices were not returned by deadline.