Preventative care could help lower cost of health care 

(May 16) – Two bills to improve women’s access to health care services were signed this afternoon by Gov. Jared Polis. 

A bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, looks to address the increasing rate of maternal deaths. This bill will allow the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) to review cases of maternal deaths in a timely manner to then work on ways to lower these deaths. 

“Colorado’s maternal mortality rate has doubled since 2008. That’s unacceptable so we took action.” said Rep. Buckner. “This new law will work to stop what is preventable and help save the lives of mothers.” 

HB19-1122 also imposes diversity requirements for the committee as the maternal mortality rate is higher among African-American women and women in urban areas. 80 percent of maternal deaths in Colorado could have been prevented with proper access to services. The new law also funds Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to complete regular reports to the legislature on ways to prevent maternal mortality based on the findings of the MMRC. 

The bill was signed at the Center for African American Health in Denver this afternoon. 

Earlier today, Gov. Polis signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Rep. Buckner to require that women’s preventative health, which is already required to be covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), include follow-up diagnostic procedures for women with increased risk factors for contracting breast cancer without any additional costs or co-pays by the patient. 

“Early detection saved my life. We know that early detection is key to both saving women’s lives and lowering the cost of health care,” said Rep. Michaelson Jenet. “This law will provide coverage for women on these exams so they no longer have to decide between the cost of their screening and the cost of their life. We are being proactive rather than reactive.” 

HB19-1301 would require health insurance providers to cover any breast imaging performed after a breast cancer screening study comes back and requires additional testing within the same calendar year. This can be based on factors including a high lifetime risk or an individual’s healthcare provider indicating that further imaging is necessary. 

“When women are given the resources to detect early signs of breast cancer, lives will be saved,” said Rep. Buckner. “This law will help patients take the proper steps to get healthy and avoid costly procedures to treat their cancer.” 

The law was signed at the Cancer Center at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. 

The 2010 federal Affordable Care Act defined benefits for individually purchased health insurance. It included covering one breast exam screening per year, but did not extend to covering a breast exam if further analysis or tests are needed. 

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