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The assembly recently reached an agreement with the governor and Senate on legislation that will bring affordable health coverage and expand access to preventive screenings for women. By providing vital and timely health care coverage to women, this historic agreement will dramatically improve the health of women throughout the state.

Each of the past four years, the assembly has passed legislation to fight diseases like breast cancer and osteoporosis in an effort to improve women's health in New York. Diseases like breast cancer, cervical cancer, osteoporosis are treatable if caught in time, which is why I have continued to advocate for laws that make prevention and treatment more accessible and affordable.

This new agreement provides all women with complete and accessible health care by:

* Expanding women's access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.

* Requiring insurers to pay for annual mammograms for women beginning at age 40.

* Requiring coverage for preventative screening tests to detect osteoporosis.

* Publicizing breast cancer detection and education services through a public education and outreach campaign.

* Providing free screenings through the Healthy Women Partnership Program to help women meet the costs of breast and cervical exams.

* Requiring prescription drug plans to include coverage for approved contraceptive drugs and devices.

The Women's Health Care Agreement is part of my continuing efforts to help keep New Yorkers healthy. I recently supported legislation to dramatically improve health care for all New Yorkers - especially the elderly and disabled - by protecting struggling hospitals, nursing homes and certified health care providers from staffing shortages and proposed Medicaid cuts. The legislation also expands Medicaid eligibility for certain uninsured and underinsured women diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer. I also fought for a state budget that provides $42 million to recruit and retain home care nurses and aides through a three percent (3%) cost of living increase.

Women deserve easy, affordable access to lifesaving screenings and treatments and this agreement will deliver the health care coverage they need.


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