Following the passage of her bill to make mammograms safer, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza is pursuing additional legislation designed to help low-income women have continued access to breast cancer screenings.
Last year, the California Department of Public Health announced that the state’s “Every Woman Counts” program, which provides free clinical breast exams and mammograms to the state’s underserved women, will suspend new enrollments for breast cancer screening services between January 1st and July 2nd. It also changed the eligibility age for breast cancer screening services to 50 and older.
Oropeza’s Senate Bill 836 would restore access to free screening and diagnostic services to low-income women. It also would require that breast cancer screening services be provided to all individuals exhibiting symptoms, regardless of age, and to individuals 40 and older.
“The decision to suspend screening is a slap at California’s low-income women,” said Oropeza, who represents Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Westchester. “Those who can least afford help in detecting and fighting this deadly disease are the ones most affected.”
The senator, a liver cancer survivor, added, “Early detection has proven to save lives. Because breast cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, it is essential that state policymakers fight to help our most vulnerable communities.”
SB 148, which requires medical providers who operate mammogram machines to post notices of violations, was enacted on January 1st.