Cuts to California Breast Cancer Screening Effort Spark Worry, Legislation
Scaled-back eligibility rules for a state program that provides mammograms to low-income uninsured women are drawing criticism from health care advocates and state lawmakers, the Torrance Daily Breeze reports (Evans, Torrance Daily Breeze, 1/16).
Last month, the state announced that beginning on Jan. 1, enrollment in the Every Woman Counts program would be frozen for six months. Moreover, when enrollment in the program is reopened, state officials plan to limit eligibility to women ages 50 and older.
Prior to Jan. 1, the program provided no-cost mammograms to eligible women ages 40 and older. The program is targeted at low-income women who do not qualify for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (California Healthline, 12/17/09).
Iraj Khalkhali, chief of radiology at Los Angeles County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and a professor at UCLA's medical school, said that the eligibility changes have triggered a drop in the number of women seeking mammograms, adding that the decline will compromise training for medical residents who now are reading significantly fewer mammograms.
In addition, Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) has introduced legislation (SB 836) that would restore funding for the program.Ray Sotero, a spokesperson for Sen. Oropeza, said the bill's first hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (Torrance Daily Breeze, 1/16). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.