Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Heinz bipartisan bill for more cancer screenings unanimously passes committee



STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – A bill sponsored by Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson (District 29), that would make it easier for women to screen and prevent breast and cervical cancer in Arizona passed committee on a unanimous vote today.

HB 2472 would recognize more health-care providers and services that administer screenings for breast and cervical cancer, rather than limiting recognition of these providers and services to programs under the Department of Health Services. A screening program would be recognized as long as it “operates consistently with Arizona Well Women Health Check guidelines.”

“This is an opportunity to show that Democrats and Republicans can work together, move past partisan bickering, and work toward results for Arizonans,” said Heinz who is sponsoring the bill with Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, a Republican. “This is a step forward in the fight against breast and cervical cancer so mothers, daughters, sisters and all women in Arizona can protect their health.”

Last year, inflammatory breast-cancer patient Bobbie Thayer was unable to enroll in MED, a program that was closed to new enrollees. Heinz helped Thayer get the treatment she needed, but recognized that preventative screenings could have helped Thayer fight breast cancer at an earlier stage as well as many other Arizona women like her.

Thayer testified in the Health and Human Services committee, where the bill passed on an 8-0 vote.

“I had no clue as to the cost of cancer today or imagined I would be the one diagnosed with such a catastrophic disease,” Thayer said. “I want to thank Rep. Heinz and his staff for working so diligently with my situation. I know of others who are not outspoken or do not have the ability or knowledge of where to turn for help.”

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