Florida Legislature Maintains Status Quo for Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program, Falling Short of Funding Needed to Meet High Demand
Despite Mass Support from Florida Voters and As Florida Struggles to Return to Pre-Pandemic Screening Rates
TALLAHASSEE, FL – March 11, 2022 – The Florida House and Senate finalized the 2022 budget late yesterday, including failing to fully fund the state’s Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection program.
For over 27 years, the Mary Brogan Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program has provided lifesaving screenings to underinsured and uninsured women who otherwise would have gone without – a mission that is critical as ever as Florida struggles to return to regular screening rates.
“We’re disappointed by the legislature’s proposal today which fails to increase funding for such a lifesaving program at such a crucial moment for preventive cancer care and the fight against cancer.” noted American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Senior Government Relations Director for Florida, Susan Harbin. “Current funding levels fail to meet the severity of the pandemic’s impacts on cancer screenings and only reach a mere 8% of eligible women.”
Access and affordability have presented the most significant barriers to missed or postponed screenings over the past two years, both of which the Mary Brogan program gets to the heart of addressing. They are also the largest driving factors for the higher mortality rates seen in rural and ethnic communities across the state.
In light of this need, cancer patients and survivors with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network advocated for lawmakers to fully fund the program at $3 million to expand Florida’s reach to underserved communities most in need, including Black and Latino communities that make up the majority of individuals eligible for the program but only a fraction of patients served.
“We’re eager to work with lawmakers next session to increase funding levels in a way that meets today’s demand and new reality in regards to accessing care with still so many Floridians unable to receive their recommend screenings as a result of financial impacts from the pandemic.”
The Florida Legislature is set to vote on the full 2022 budget next before it is sent to the Governor's desk.