Following cancer diagnosis, Sen. Klobuchar introduces legislation promoting preventative health care
WASHINGTON (KVRR) — Following her own cancer diagnosis, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is introducing legislation to promote preventative health screenings.
“I am sharing my story to call attention to the fact that many people have been delaying routine exams and screenings because of the pandemic,” she said Thursday. “I know that because I delayed mine.”
Klobuchar was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year. “I had a lumpectomy and radiation, and my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person,” she added.
Studies show more than 30% of adults have reported delaying or going without health care because of coronavirus-related concerns.
Klobuchar says was able to catch her cancer at an early stage because of a routine screening, which is why she’s introducing the Preventive Care Awareness Act.
“This ‘experience’, we’ll call it that, that’s a nice Minnesota euphemism, gave me just a newfound purpose for my work,” she said. “Early detection is one of the best tools.”
The bill includes awarding states, territories and tribes with grant money for preventative care and creating a task force to develop preventative care recommendations during the pandemic.
It also pushes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to launch a public health campaign for cancer screenings.
“Obviously, this week is important because we’re trying to recognize that breast cancer takes more lives than it should, that we can prevent some of these cancers from taking over if we just got women to come in earlier or as early as possible,” said Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra.
The bill also focuses on removing barriers for people who may not have the same access to health care as others do.
“It really is saying, ‘This is a common need. Equity exists across the spectrum,’ and trauma informed care doesn’t just exist within a metro context. It exists in Indian Country. It exists in immigrants who may have that barrier to care being their immigration status,” explained CentraCare Senior Vice President and General Counsel Santo Cruz.
Klobuchar says the legislation is about getting the word out “in a big way.”
“I know we’ve always done this but given the numbers and all the people walking around with undetected cancer, it’s even more important.”
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota is also a sponsor of the bill. His wife is being treated for cancer at Mayo Clinic.