State leaders announce breast cancer legislation

Posted at 12:12 PM, Jun 13, 2016

Breast Cancer Awareness month may not be until October, but state leaders are continuously working to increase access and health coverage for breast cancer screening.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have announced an agreement to help more women across the state gain access to breast cancer screenings.

This agreement includes legislation to extend hours for screening at 210 hospital-based mammography facilities across the state. Weekday hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be available to help women who have difficulty scheduling mammograms during the typical workday hours.

It also aims to get rid of insurance obstacles for mammograms and other procedures that help detect breast cancer. The agreement will eliminate annual deductibles, co-payments and co-insurance payments for all mammograms and other screening processes.

Cuomo stresses the importance of early detection in breast cancer cases. Doctors say early detection was crucial in the successful battle his longtime girlfriend, Sandra Lee, waged against the disease. 

"Early detection is key to fighting breast cancer and New York State is proud to be home to the most aggressive cancer screening operations in the country," Governor Cuomo said. "...many [women] are not fortunate enough to have the flexibility in their schedule or the resources to fight this disease head on. By expanding screening hours and removing insurance barriers, this agreement will give our wives, daughters and sisters better access to life-saving health services so they too can get ahead of this disease."

Candace Johnson, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute, says the agreement is a "game-changer for women's health." She continued to stress the importance of having opportunities to detect breast cancer at an early stage to allow for more successful treatment and a greater quality of life.