Historic Breast Cancer Screening, Testing Bill Passes PA Legislature with Unanimous, Bipartisan Support
Senate Bill 8 passes both House and Senate with unanimous votes, heads to Governor’s desk
Harrisburg, PA- The Pennsylvania House of Representatives today passed Senate Bill 8, comprehensive breast cancer screening legislation that eliminates all costs associated with breast MRI, ultrasound and BRCA-related genetic testing and counseling for individuals at high-risk. The bill, introduced by PA Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), PA Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Montgomery) and PA Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny), previously passed the PA Senate unanimously. Senate Bill 8 is the first of its kind in the nation, eliminating out-of-pocket costs such as co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance for the screenings.
“Today’s vote made history. With Senate Bill 8’s passage, Pennsylvanians will no longer have to choose between screenings that could save their lives and groceries for their families. Senate Bill 8 ensures access to early detection at no cost for women at high-risk,” said PA Breast Cancer Coalition President Pat Halpin-Murphy. “The PA Breast Cancer Coalition applauds and commends the action of Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward and every lawmaker who recognized the importance of this legislation. Thank you for passing this life-saving law and for, once again, placing Pennsylvania among the first in the nation for breast cancer coverage.”
According to a study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, breast MRI has proven more than two times as effective at detecting breast cancer than even 3D mammograms in women with high-risk factors. The American College of Radiology recommends supplementing annual mammograms with yearly breast MRI for women at high-risk.
In addition to supplemental screening, genetic testing and counseling is recommended for Pennsylvanians at high risk for hereditary cancers. BRCA-related genetic mutations are proven to increase a person’s risk of developing various cancers including breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
“We specifically identified this bill as Senate Bill 8 because 1 in 8 women will face a breast cancer diagnosis. I’m one of those 8 women and I was fortunate to know how to navigate the system to help create effective legislation for the people we serve. ALL Pennsylvanians deserve access to breast cancer screenings and genetic testing without a cost barrier,” said prime bill sponsor Senator Kim Ward. “Today’s vote will save lives. Thank you to my colleagues for supporting this bipartisan effort and for the brave Pennsylvanians who shared their stories with us.”
Senate Bill 8 now goes to the Governor’s desk for signature.
About the PA Breast Cancer Coalition
The PA Breast Cancer Coalition, a 501(c)3 organization, represents, supports and serves breast cancer survivors and their families in Pennsylvania through educational programming, legislative advocacy and breast cancer research grants. The PBCC is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure now…so our daughters don’t have to. For more information, please call 800-377-8828 or visit www.PABreastCancer.org.