03.22.17

Baldwin, Murray, Gillibrand Introduce Legislation to Increase Availability of Preventive, Life-Saving Cancer Screenings for Women

Breast, ovarian, cervical cancer deaths occur disproportionately among women who lack adequate preventive services 

The Invest in Women’s Health Act would increase availability of preventive, life-saving cancer screenings 

New legislation would create new grants to expand preventive services, specialty training for providers who serve low-income women, women of color

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017, legislation to provide women with more preventive and life-saving cancer screenings at safety net clinics like Planned Parenthood. This bill would help reduce health disparities by placing an emphasis on populations most at risk, including low-income women and women of color. 

“At a time when women’s health is under attack, it’s critical that we step up and do more,” said Senator Baldwin. “I’m proud to support this legislation to increase women’s access to preventive care and life-saving cancer screenings. When we improve the availability of education, information, and preventive screenings, we can increase cancer survival among women and save lives.”

“More than ever, I strongly believe that we should be working to make sure our health care system works for all women and communities—and puts their needs first,” said Senator Murray. “That's why I am pushing to increase the availability of preventive and life-saving cancer screenings at critical health care providers, like Planned Parenthood. These efforts would make an enormous difference in the lives of the millions of women nationwide Planned Parenthood and other safety net clinics serve each year.”

“For hundreds of thousands of women in my state who don’t have the health insurance or access to care that they need, health care providers like Planned Parenthood are the only places where they can get cancer screenings and other lifesaving preventive care,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This bill would make sure that these women’s health clinics have the resources they need to continue serving their communities, especially those most in need.”

The Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017 would create new grants for public and nonprofit private entities to expand preventive services; allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish new demonstration programs that provide grants for clinics and providers to ensure up to date research and guidelines, training for new providers, specialty training for treating low-income and women of color, as well as establish a training model; and require a new study and report to be conducted by HHS to better understand and address care for women including state analyses, cost estimates for Federal dollar savings, and recommendations.

Fact sheet on the Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017 below:

Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 314,257 women were diagnosed with either breast, ovarian, cervical, or uterine cancer in 2013 alone. While breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths, gynecological cancers often have a higher mortality rate. Many cancers disproportionately impact women of color. For example, African American women are 1.4 times more likely to die from both breast and cervical cancer compared to white women despite having a lower incidence rate of breast cancer. African American women are also less likely to survive breast cancer 5 years after diagnosis, with a 71% survival rate compared to the 86% survival rate of white women.

Many cancers are more treatable than ever with early detection through cancer screenings. As a result, deaths from these cancers occur disproportionately among women who are either uninsured or under insured and therefore lack adequate preventive services. Increased education, information, and preventive screenings are crucial for increasing cancer survival among women. The Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017, introduced by Senators Murray, Gillibrand and Baldwin, seeks to help address this problem to ensure that women can receive more preventive screenings and care.

Invest in Women’s Health Act:

This legislation aims to provide women with more preventive and life-saving cancer screenings to reduce health disparities by placing an emphasis on populations most at risk, including low-income women and women of color.  The Invest in Women’s Health Act seeks to increase availability by:

  • Creating new grants for public and nonprofit private entities to expand preventive services;
  • Allowing the Secretary to establish new demonstration programs that provide grants for clinicsand providers to ensure up to date research and guidelines, training for new providers, specialty training for treating low-income and women of color, as well as establish a training model; and
  • Requiring a new study and report to be conducted the Department of Health and Human Services to better understand and address care for women including state analyses, cost estimates for Federal dollar savings, and recommendations.