DENVER, Colo.—The Colorado House of Representatives today passed House Bill 1302 to reauthorize Colorado's Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Treatment Program through 2029. The bill has enjoyed strong bipartisan support, passing the House with a vote of 52-12 and now awaits Senate action. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and Komen Colorado support this legislation to help low-income, uninsured and underinsured women in Colorado access lifesaving cancer treatments.
"Under the federal health care law, more women have access to preventive cancer screenings and treatments, but many gaps still remain for people who are uninsured or under-insured due to affordability, literacy and language-related barriers," said R.J. Ours, Colorado government relations director for ACS CAN. "This critical program will provide access to lifesaving cancer treatment for low-income, uninsured women who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer."
Uninsured women have lower cancer screening rates - only 31% of uninsured women (age 40 and older) have received a mammogram in the past two years, compared to 68% of insured women. Likewise, only 61% of uninsured women (21 to 65 years of age) have received a Pap test in the past three years, compared to 84% of insured women.
Colorado's Breast & Cervical Cancer Early Detection and Treatment Program (BCCP) pays for breast and cervical cancer treatment for uninsured or under-insured women aged 40-65 with breast cancer and aged 21-65 with cervical cancer who earn less than 250% of the federal poverty level. The BCCP is funded through a combination of state and federal funds to provide treatment to women through Colorado's Medicaid program.
House Bill 1302 reauthorizes the program and secures funding for the state program through 2029. Additionally, the legislation will:
-- Extend the program's sunset date from 2019 to 2029.
-- Continue eligibility for Colorado woman to qualify for the treatment program regardless of the location of diagnosis.
-- Fund the state portion of projected program expenses for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund from revenue collected from the sale of the state’s breast cancer license plate.
Although breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in females in the United States, if caught early, the survival rate for the disease is 99%. Treatment is also more effective and less expensive if caught in the early stages. However, if breast cancer is diagnosed at a late stage, the survival rate falls to just 25%. This year, nearly 4,200 Colorado women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 610 women will die from it.
About ACS CAN
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is making cancer a top priority for public officials and candidates at the federal, state and local levels. ACS CAN empowers advocates across the country to make their voices heard and influence evidence-based public policy change as well as legislative and regulatory solutions that will reduce the cancer burden. As the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN is critical to the fight for a world without cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.