COLUMBUS—State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) offered an amendment in House Finance Committee during final deliberations of SB 64, the biennial state budget bill, Monday.  Rep. Sykes and other Democrats were concerned with provisions eliminating Medicaid healthcare coverage for women earing up to 200% of the poverty level who suffer from breast and/or cervical cancer:

“One of the versions that we received of the budget would remove provisions that would repeal the requirement that Medicaid covers a group who are in need of treatment for breast or cervical cancer. I do just want to point out that this particular population is women who are currently suffering from breast and/or cervical cancer.

“If you have had the unfortunate experience of knowing anyone who has lived through or had to go through the treatment of a disease that is deadly and debilitating…even if someone were to have insurance outside of the Medicaid program, this is a disease that costs an exorbitant amount of money to cover and I believe that it is the duty of this state to make sure that women are protected and have a safety net.”

“At 200% of the poverty level, a woman is making $23,540 a year. That’s just over $11 an hour. Without this safety net program, there will be many women who will die because they cannot afford treatment of breast or cervical cancer. Cancer is not a diagnosis or an event that would qualify a woman to enter into open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. So in the event that a woman was to receive a breast or cervical cancer diagnosis, say in February, it would take almost a year before she could ever get insurance coverage.”

“We know that early treatment for breast or cervical cancer is optimal to ensure survival and the least amount of debilitation that might occur from the disease. I’m asking support from my colleagues…to make sure the women of this state who have breast or cervical cancer have a safety net so that they could live.” 

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