House Committee Focuses on Public Health with Increased Tobacco Tax, Greater Access to Affordable Health Care
The House Ways and Means Committee is expected to vote today on legislation that if enacted would greatly improve public health.
PROVIDENCE, RI – Today, Gov. Daniel McKee will sign into law The Maryellen Goodwin Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, which ensures Rhode Islanders can access affordable preventative colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45. It does this by eliminating cost-sharing for all preventative colorectal cancer screening tests for people 45 and older, even if they are performed as a follow up to a positive less invasive screening.
A broad coalition of public health groups, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) and Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC), have spent the last three years urging lawmakers to pass this bill. In 2021, it’s estimated that nearly 500 Rhode Islanders will receive a diagnosis of colorectal cancer and 160 Rhode Islanders will lose their battle with the disease – but by increasing access to screening, advocates hope to decrease these numbers.
“Although colorectal cancer is one of the few preventable cancers, it remains a leading cause of cancer death in Rhode Island. But this doesn’t have to be the case. If Rhode Islanders received regular screenings for colorectal cancer, thousands of future deaths could potentially be prevented. We are thrilled that our lawmakers have heard from their many constituents who have been touched by cancer and voted to remove barriers to affordable screening for colorectal cancer,” said Cori Chandler, Rhode Island Director of Government Relations for ACS CAN in Rhode Island.
“Expanding access to colorectal cancer screenings will save lives,” said Governor McKee. “I am proud to sign this bill into law, removing barriers many Rhode Islanders face in accessing crucial screenings. I thank Senate Majority Whip Goodwin, House Deputy Majority Whip Ackerman and all the inspiring advocates who championed this effort and worked tirelessly to ensure this bill becomes law.”
“Colorectal cancer is one of the few cancers that can be prevented if caught early and it is more important now than ever that we remove barriers and increase access to this life-saving screening. Fight Colorectal Cancer is grateful to all the incredible colorectal cancer advocates in Rhode Island who worked tirelessly to see this critical legislation signed into law,” said Anjee Davis, President of Fight CRC. “We applaud House Deputy Majority Whip Mia Ackerman, Senator Maryellen Goodwin and Gov. Daniel McKee for swiftly approving this legislation and prioritizing increasing access to colorectal cancer screening.”
“This law removes a major financial barrier keeping some Rhode Islanders from receiving their recommended screenings, which comes with the cost of poorer health outcomes and lives lost. On behalf of those Rhode Islanders impacted by cancer, ACS CAN thanks Gov. McKee for signing this lifesaving bill into law,” continued Chandler.
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.