TALLAHASSEE, Fla-- 2009 was a year Jill Weiss will never forget.
“I went for a routine mammogram and I knew something was wrong because after the test they made me wait in the room," Weiss said.
What came next for the now executive at Susan G. Komen Florida was a series of expensive tests and discovery of breast cancer.
Though Weiss had the resources to pay for those exams, others often don’t— forcing a delayed diagnosis. “Can you imagine living, knowing that something is wrong and not being able to get diagnosed? It’s awful," Weiss said.
A bill filed in the Florida House and Senate may help. It would cap high copay costs for patients getting diagnostic tests after an initial mammogram.
“This bill ensures that any follow up testing be done at a rate no higher than a mammogram," said St. Sen. Lori Berman (D) Boynton beach.
Berman, a breast cancer survivor, is behind the measure. “I ask my colleagues to expedite passage to save lives together.”
And there’s more. Lawmakers are pushing a bill to give patients access to the latest metastatic cancer treatments sooner, no longer requiring that they try other treatments first.
“Insurance companies are forcing them to try older, less expensive therapies for months before covering pricey ones. This is something we have to do better at," said Rep. Kamia Brown, (D) Ocoee.
To Weiss, it’s a big step in the right direction for breast cancer patients. She’ll now wait and see if the legislature agrees.
“I hope so. I have faith in them," she said.
Sen. Berman believed there is enough bipartisan support to get both bills through the legislature. Both have made it through the first hurdle and have been assigned to committees.