The following was received from the office of Del. Donna Stifler:
HB 182 (Health Insurance-Coverage for Breast Cancer Screening-American Cancer Society Guidelines) will be heard on Thursday, February 4 at 1 pm in the House Health and Government Matters Committee.
This legislation would freeze in place the existing American Cancer Society guidelines for mammograms as of January 1, 2010. These guidelines recommend regular yearly mammograms starting at age 40, among other screening practices, and more stringent recommendations for high risk women.
Late last year a federal advisory panel (United States Preventive Services Task Force) proposed changing the existing guidelines to tell women that they did not need mammograms until age 50. The Task Force’s recommendations were widely rejected and castigated by the medical community and those involved with cancer prevention. HB 182 would ensure that the healthcare insurers in Maryland would continue to provide coverage for the more frequent use of mammograms at an earlier age than the panel proposed.
I know that mammography testing for women, especially women in high risk groups, should not be rationed in the name of lowering costs in a government sponsored healthcare program. This bill will ensure that Maryland women get the preventive care they deserve, regardless of what any federal bureaucrat says. It will ensure that the recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force which recommended that women wait until age 50 to begin having mammogram screenings, are not implemented in Maryland. This bill has bi-partisan support.
I urge you to attend this hearing on February 4 and show your support for this necessary legislation. If you would like to testify, please contact me at 410.841.3278.