New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation this week to increase access to breast cancer screenings, following up on the $91 million proposal he first announced in January during an emotional State of the State address. The bill requires numerous state facilities to observe extended hours, offers paid leave to all public employees, removes deductibles and co-payments for all screening mammograms, and more.
Before signing the bill, Cuomo participated in a “breast cancer motorcycle ride” as part of his “Get Screened, No Excuses” campaign. He signed the legislation at Citi Field in Queens, N.Y, with his girlfriend, Sandra Lee, at his side. Cuomo has discussed Lee’s own battle with breast cancer at great length in the past.
“Breast cancer affects women of all walks of life, and in New York, we have put forward the most aggressive plan in the nation to increase awareness about this disease and expand access to live-saving resources and services,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “Sandy fortunately caught this disease early and with today’s legislation, we are taking action to ensure that every woman, regardless of her schedule or financial situation, has access to the best cancer treatment possible – early detection. This legislation is an example of our unrelenting commitment to protecting our mothers, sisters and daughters in the fight against this disease and I thank my partners in the legislature for passing this bill. By hitting the road today, we are helping all of those who face a road ahead in their fight against preventing and curing this disease and we will continue to our efforts to build a stronger and healthier New York.”
“As I rode with Andrew in the moments before he signed the No Excuses Bill, I felt grateful for receiving what was the worst news of my life at the time—a breast cancer diagnosis,” Lee said in the same statement. “I was so blessed to get tested at an early stage. Now, all women in New York State have that same opportunity. This bill brings extra hours added for women to get screened early in the morning and later in the evening—before and after regular working hours—and testing will be free, with no co-pay.”