American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network Praises Senate Cloture Vote on Small Business Health Bill

May 11, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- May 11, 2006 -- The American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN) today commended the Senate for voting to continue debate on insurance legislation that would threaten access to mammograms and other vital cancer screenings and treatments. This evening’s vote against cloture means the measure will not move forward.

The “Health Insurance Marketplace, Modernization and Affordability Act of 2006” (S. 1955), would enable private insurers to sell health plans that circumvent state laws requiring coverage for cancer screenings and treatments, among other health benefits. In exchange, the insurers must offer employers an alternative plan that includes the same protections as any one of the plans offered to state employees in the five most populous states -- California, New York, Illinois, Texas or Florida.

In the past two weeks, cancer advocates sent more than 173,500 emails and placed more than 9,000 calls to Senate offices to express their concerns about losing coverage guarantees for cancer screenings and treatments.

In addition, ACS CAN launched a “Red Bra” ad campaign with ads featuring a red bra and the proclamation “Don’t Let the U.S. Senate Leave Women Exposed.” The ads went on to say, “Mammograms save lives. Help us save mammograms.”

The following is a statement from Daniel E. Smith, the Society’s national vice president of government relations, in response to today’s action:

“On behalf of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and its volunteers and supporters, I commend the Senate for taking a stand for public health and acknowledging the need to carefully consider the impact this bill would have on the public health of Americans. Today’s vote is a victory for cancer patients and survivors, for whom access to cancer screenings and treatments is not a luxury, but a basic need. While well-intentioned, this bill would be detrimental to millions of Americans by eliminating state guarantees of coverage for mammograms and other essential cancer screenings and treatments.

“We know that cancer screenings and treatments save lives, but they are only as effective as the access people have to them. We must tear down the barriers to cancer screening and treatment – not raise them, as this legislation would.

“We recognize the need to provide affordable, quality health insurance for more Americans. ACS CAN stands ready to work with the Senate to achieve this goal, but not at the expense of eliminating critical consumer health benefits and protections that our volunteers and legislators have worked so hard to obtain.

“We thank those senators who have been steadfast in their support of our efforts and will continue our nationwide fight to ensure access to mammograms and other critical cancer treatments and screenings.”

ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society. ACS CAN is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major public health problem through issue campaigns and voter education aimed at influencing candidates and lawmakers to support laws and policies that will help people fight cancer. ACS CAN does not endorse candidates and is not a political action committee (PAC). For more information, visit

Trista Hargrove
Phone: (202) 585-3221
Email: [email protected]

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