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Buddy Check 7: New legislation pushes better access to preventative care

Published: Nov. 7, 2021 at 10:40 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - There’s no sure way to prevent breast cancer but there are things you can do that might lower your risk including preventative care. A new bill introduced by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin aims to promote the use of preventative services like physicals and mammograms.

Preventative health, like mammograms, can be especially helpful for women with certain risk factors for breast cancer, such as having a strong family history or certain gene changes.

“Finding it, identifying it, and treating it much sooner allows for less treatment to have to occur and less and less chance of reoccurrence down the line. So the quality of life would be far better for a much longer period of time should they get screened early and constantly,” explained Laura Lauer, nurse practitioner with Marshfield Clinic.

In October, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, of Wisconsin; Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota; Republican Senator Susan Collins, of Maine; Republican Senator Mike Rounds, of South Dakota; Democratic Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada, and Republican John Thune of South Dakota, introduced legislation to promote the use of preventive health care services, like physicals, mammograms, and other cancer screenings, and routine examinations.

In a press release, Senator Baldwin said, “We can always do more to promote preventive health care and make sure everyone has access to it. Whether it is cancer screenings, annual physicals, or flu shots and vaccines, preventive health care can have a positive impact on health outcomes and we should do all we can to enhance access to these services.”

Lauer called easier access to preventative health care relating to breast health, life-saving. “It’s also going to empower them to take charge of their life and ask for their screening and not sit back passively waiting for someone to offer it to them. And be educated on what they need, what can improve their lives and obtain these things,” said Lauer.

The Preventive Care Awareness Act would:

  • Award grants to states, territories, localities, and Tribal organizations to increase appropriate utilization and decrease disparities in preventive care services;
  • Establish a task force to develop recommendations addressing preventive care access during the coronavirus pandemic and future public health emergencies; and
  • Direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to undertake a coordinated, focused public health education campaign to enhance access to preventive services, in collaboration with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Surgeon General, and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

To learn more about the legislation and its sponsors click here.

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