The fight against cancer

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I am extremely disappointed that Sens. Snowe and Collins chose to support federal insurance legislation that was fatally flawed and not in the best interest of Maine residents.

Sens. Snowe and Collins chose to support legislation that could have threatened guaranteed coverage for and access to cancer screenings and treatments for millions of Americans.

Fortunately, other senators disagreed and stopped the bill in its tracks.

S1955 was an ill-advised attempt to address a goal we all share: to increase the number of Americans with health insurance. However, the bill would do more harm than good by allowing private insurers to bypass state laws requiring coverage for cancer screenings and treatments, effectively stripping patients of guaranteed coverage for those lifesaving benefits. It would have negated years of work in the states to ensure coverage for vital benefit protections, and would have been a setback in Maine’s efforts to reduce cancer deaths.

As an individual with many connections with cancer, I recognize the need to expand affordable, quality insurance coverage to more Americans, but not at the expense of benefit protections that help save lives. S1955 would have gutted mammography coverage laws in 49 states and undermined Maine laws ensuring coverage for cervical cancer screenings, mammography screenings and many other treatments.

Ensuring access to screenings and treatment options is essential to winning the fight against cancer. Our senators must come up with other ways to address the problem of the uninsured that won’t deprive citizens of the very protections that help save lives.

Janet Miles, Auburn

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