Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) this week celebrated the passage of important breast cancer provisions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590 -- the health reform legislation). The new health care laws will save lives, money, and extends the life of Medicare.
The breast cancer provision in the bill was originally introduced as the EARLY Act (Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, H.R. 1740) by Reps. Wasserman Schultz and Sue Myrick (NC-9) in the House of Representatives in March 2009. Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN) and Olympia Snowe (ME) introduced a Senate version of the bill (S.994) in May 2009.
The legislation directs the Centers for Disease Control to develop and implement a national education campaign to increase awareness of the threats posed by breast cancer in young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the particular heightened risks faced by certain groups.
When the Senate began to consider health care reform, Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz personally met with Senator Harry Reid about including SB 994 in the manager's amendment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Sen. Reid shared her concerns about young women's lack of knowledge and awareness about their breast health, and made it clear that he would do everything he could to include these important provisions in the Senate health care reform bill. The EARLY Act was included in the Manager's Amendment to the Senate Health Care bill and passed the Senate and House as SEC. 10413 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). President Obama signed this bill into law on March 23, 2010.
I am delighted that the EARLY Act passed as part of this historic health reform, and I am grateful to Senator Reid for understanding the importance of breast cancer education. As we build a healthier America, we can now start to ensure that all young women have the tools and resources they need to practice good breast health and detect breast cancer early," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz (FL-20).
I know that as a breast cancer survivor, I would not have found my cancer early without knowledge and awareness," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "To combat breast cancer we need to ensure that every young woman in America can rely upon education and awareness, not simply luck.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 20 to 45, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2009 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 25,000 new cases of breast cancer in women younger than 45 and approximately eight of these young women will die from the disease each day.
The EARLY Act legislation has the support of more than 40 advocacy organizations, including the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance, the Young Survival Coalition and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.