HARTFORD – The March 18, 2021 CT Legislators' Insurance and Real Estate Committee Public Hearing agenda included HB 6626, a broad health insurance measure that included requiring health insurance companies to cover ultrasound procedures on women who exhibit dense breast tissue in addition to their mammogram examinations. Dense breast tissue can prevent doctors from properly detecting tumors or cancer.
Sen. Tony Hwang is the ranking senator on the committee and was able to talk to journalist and former Good Morning America host Joan Lunden who has lived through the shock and anxiety of a breast cancer diagnosis and was spared the spread of deadly consequences at least in part due to the early detection from an additional ultrasound.
Sen. Hwang stressed, “This issue matters deeply for me - for my mother, my mother in law, my wife and my daughter. Every protection should be in place so that no woman - and no family - has to unnecessarily endure the news that a loved one has a life-altering medical condition that could have been detected early and an opportunity to find a medical recovery plan.”
“This is indeed an insurance mandate, I believe that advanced breast cancer screening using the latest tools and technology to save lives matters is an important policy choice. The health of our loved one is priceless. Early detection and prevention may possibly save healthcare costs and most importantly, save lives. Ultrasounds for women who have dense breast tissue means early detection and more options to healthy outcomes. This measure prioritizes research, testing and proactive healthcare,” said Sen. Hwang.
Senator Hwang absolutely supports implementing measures to support life-saving screenings. Democrat leadership in this bill chose to take the language providing these important procedures for women and tuck them into a sprawling omnibus bill, H.B. 6626. The bill’s title does not even indicate the breast tissue screening content: An Act Concerning Required Health Insurance and Medicaid Coverage, Ambulance Services and Cost Transparency. It creates an untenable choice between (1) voting to support a potentially life-saving procedure but also giving blanket approval for a myriad of unrelated policies, OR (2) delaying this action for another year in order to prevent the other attached legislation.
“It is my hope that this measure is put into its own bill so I can support this important screening to be available to any and all women who may need it. As it stands, legislators will be forced to choose between supporting women’s health and all the other well-intentioned but possibly overreaching policies in H.B. 6626,” said Sen. Hwang.
WATCH: Sen Hwang, lead Republican on the Insurance Committee, talks about pending legislation on requiring coverage for dense breast tissue cancer screening at the public hearing March 18, 2021. https://youtu.be/p3VwstupwCc