HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It has been a historic few months for women in the State Capitol, and a historic bill to help women took another step forward.
The bill eliminates out-of-pocket costs associated with BRCA genetic testing so that those cancers can be caught early. It also eliminated the costs for additional screening for women with dense breasts, or a family history of breast cancer, which can put those women at higher risk.
On Wednesday it passed 200-0 in the House after unanimously passing the Senate 50-0.
Support for the issue is bipartisan and bicameral and that is not always the case around the capitol. It is not just legislation for Ward, a breast cancer survivor herself, it is personal.
“It affects mothers, daughters, cousins, sisters, and granddaughters kikis; I’m a kiki grandma. And it’s just so important to women across the Commonwealth,” State Senator Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland) said.
“It is historic, and I can’t even tell you what it feels like. I can’t even describe it. To know that we did something big here, so we can do big things,” said Ward.
Pat Halpin Murphy, the President and Founder of the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition said Wednesday she “may be the happiest person in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania today” after advocating for breast cancer coverage since the 1990s.
“Not only will this legislation save lives, but it will also save money because the earlier you are diagnosed, the easier and less expense of the treatment and the less devastating the treatments,” said Murphy.
Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia) trumpeted the historic bill as the first female House Speaker.
“Breast cancer is one of those diseases that many times for women of color, women that look like me, it is a death sentence.”
The House and Senate will soon move to big things on thornier issues like guns, elections, and constitutional amendments.
“I look forward to being able to stand here many times throughout this session and celebrate together, because that’s what we’re here for,” said McClinton.