Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Heinz bipartisan bill on cervical and breast cancer treatment included in budget

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Legislation originally sponsored by Rep. Matt Heinz, D-Tucson (District 29), that would expand breast and cervical cancer treatment was included in the budget passed by the legislature yesterday.

“This is reassuring news for Arizona women,” Heinz, a Tucson physician, said. “Bobbie Thayer is an amazingly strong woman. Her efforts and courage led to this reform.”

The law, originally HB 2472 also called “Bobbie’s Law,” was created after Peoria resident Bobbie Thayer got a mammogram to check for breast cancer. She went to a provider that was not listed with the Well Woman HealthCheck Program administered by the Department of Health Services. She then discovered that bureaucratic red tape would prevent her from qualifying for the treatment of the inflammatory breast cancer she had developed.

“I’ve been a doctor for nearly a decade and it is tragic that anyone should have to go without lifesaving treatment because they are afraid they won’t be able to pay the bill,” Heinz said. “No woman should be denied breast cancer treatment because of her income level.”

Previously, if a woman was not screened by a WWHP provider she couldn’t receive treatment through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. Uninsured women were denied lifesaving medical attention simply because they walked into the wrong clinic. The new law will broaden WWHP access and lift age restrictions.

“Bobbie Thayer was brave enough to share her story and fight for change,” Heinz said. “Her advocacy efforts helped to put $2 million into Arizona’s budget for breast and cervical cancer treatment. Bobbie’s work will help save hundreds of women like her.”

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