Every three minutes, one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. In Florida alone, an estimated 11,850 new cases of breast cancer in women will be diagnosed and 2,760 of these women will die from this disease. These startling statistics are just two of the reasons why I am and will continue to be an ardent supporter of legislation and action that aids in the fight against this terrible disease.
Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have fought for health care access and quality, and have led and supported efforts to facilitate better healthcare at home in my congressional district and for our nation as a whole. On January 5, 2011, I co-sponsored H.R. 111, the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2011. This measure requires health plans to provide coverage for a minimum hospital stay for mastectomies, lumpectomies, and lymph node dissection for the treatment of breast cancer and coverage for secondary consultations. In the 111th Congress, I also co-sponsored H.R. 995, the Mammogram and MRI Availability Act of 2009, which would require insurance companies that already cover diagnostic mammograms to also reimburse for annual screening mammograms for women 40 and older as well as MRI screenings for high-risk women.
Furthermore, on March 26, 2009, I became an original co-sponsor of H.R. 1740, Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, which would amend the Public Health Service Act to increase awareness of the risks of breast cancer in young women and provide support for young women diagnosed with breast cancer. I will continue to support such indispensable measures in the 112th Congress.
In this year alone, an estimated 193,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in America. The disease will claim some 41,000 lives. The key to surviving breast cancer is early detection, and too many women in rural and urban areas do not have adequate access to such care. Last Congress, I became an original co-sponsor of H.R. 2964, the Mobile Mammography Promotion Act, to help mobile mammography units to continue their vital role in providing screening services for women in underserved areas. This legislation allows “mammovans” to purchase fuel without the federal excise tax. As fuel prices rise once again, this legislation is a simple way to help mobile mammography units continue serving our communities. Its early treatment and access to healthcare for all that will bring about a change in the horrifying statistics I mentioned earlier and I will continue to support these efforts.
Of course, the fight against breast cancer cannot be won by Congress alone. I commend and applaud the advocates, survivors, and the men and women who fight the disease every day.
By supporting breast health awareness, education, research, screening and referrals, I will continue in the effort to eradicate breast cancer as a life threatening disease.