Senator Mulroe discussing legislation with medical students.SPRINGFIELD — Women should not face cost barriers when considering whether to undergo a more thorough, 3D imaging process that can more accurately detect breast cancer, say Illinois Senate Democrats as new legislation works its way through the General Assembly to address women’s health needs.


“Increased access to more thorough, more modern forms of medical technology will mean fewer of our mothers and daughters and sisters taken from us by breast cancer,” said Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora.


House Bill 3673, which passed the Illinois House in April, would require 3D mammograms to be covered under women’s comprehensive health insurance plans. A related proposal, Senate Bill 54, sponsored by State Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, requires annual three dimensional mammograms to be covered under women’s insurance plans.


Currently, insurance companies must cover an annual, flat image scan at regular intervals for women over 40. Such scans can potentially miss abnormalities, particularly in women with denser breast tissue. Three dimensional scans find 40 percent more invasive cancers than 2D scans and better visualize any abnormalities, according to the American Cancer Society.


Using the newer method gives doctors a clearer view and could eliminate mistaken diagnoses, Mulroe said.


“Breast cancer is deadly and devastating to families. Early detection not only saves lives and the related cost of future treatment, but it also eliminates the anxiety women experience waiting for the call back date,” Mulroe said.

The measures have met with broad support among Senate Democrats.


“It is critically important that women have access to breast cancer screenings,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez. “Women have a much better chance of surviving from breast cancer if it is detected early.”


“It’s always important to me to support legislation that improves women’s access to health care,” said Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), a co-sponsor of both measures. “Breast cancer is a leading killer of Illinois women, and early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so I applaud these efforts to connect all women – particularly those who are low-income – to regular screenings and the highest quality of care.”


“These proposals make cutting edge medical technology more accessible for more women,” said Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake. “In the long run, that’s not just going to save money, it’s going to save the lives of our mothers and daughters.”

 

Click below to watch a video from Senator Mulroe and Senator Holmes:

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe speaks to the bill during debate.SPRINGFIELD – After months of discussions resulting in compromise to all sides, a measure sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago) tightening up vaccination laws in relation to schools has passed. The Senator had the following to say upon the passage of the legislation:

“As a general rule, children should be immunized. The key to this legislation and the discussions that have surrounded it has been about balancing individual religious freedom with public safety. That has been goal number 1. Under this proposal, the two existing exemptions remain - the medical exemption because it is clear that not all children are capable of receiving these immunizations, and the religious exemption. For the latter, we simply wanted to ensure that for individuals seeking the religious exemption that they speak with their doctor and discuss the risks involved with not immunizing. We worked long and hard with hundreds of opponents to the original legislation, and I truly believe we reached an acceptable compromise.”

Under the amended measure, the schedule with which the doctor visits for immunization exemptions would remain consistent with the current schedule for physical examinations.

Following a vote of 42 to 14, the proposal now moves to the House.

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe discusses the importance of Hepatitis C screenings.SPRINGFIELD – For those born between the years of 1945 and 1965, doctors will be required to offer Hepatitis C screenings to patients under a new proposal from Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO). The measure passed the Senate today.

“Hepatitis C is known as the silent killer because, most often, by the time a patient is diagnosed, the disease has already done widespread damage,” Mulroe said. “By requiring this screening, we are able to spare compounded illness and pain to those people who may have the disease but don’t know it.”

Patients born between 1945 and 1965, also known as baby boomers, are at the most risk for contracting Hepatitis C. Due to the long maturation period of the disease, symptoms, complications and an affirmative diagnosis are often not seen in people until they have been living with Hepatitis C for 20 years or longer.

Under the plan, if a patient in this age range asks for the test, doctors would be required to include it as part of the normal blood testing that occurs with routine physical exams. Doctor would also be obligated to ask patients in the at-risk age range if they would like such testing done.

While the baby boomer generation is most at-risk of having contracted Hepatitis C, within that group, individuals who may have had blood transfusions or healthcare and emergency workers who may have come into contact with accidental needle pricks are at a high risk of contraction. Illinois would become the second state to have legislation like this after New York, and the proposal would also mandate IDPH to develop a public health campaign to raise awareness about the disease.

“The human cost of a disease like Hepatitis C is immeasurable but if there is any way to reduce that then it is our duty to pursue those paths,” Mulroe said. “This legislation will save lives through screenings and sharing the knowledge of this disease. Hopefully through mandating these screenings we will be able to save these people and their families time, heartache and money.”

Senate Bill 661 passed by a 33 to 19 vote and will be now be heard by the House.

Category: Showcase

Senator Mulroe celebrates vote.SPRINGFIELD – Taking up the mantle from the previous legislative session, the Senate today passed Senate Bill 11, which will incrementally raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour. Senator John Mulroe (D-CHICAGO) voted in favor of the bill.

“The minimum wage is not a living wage, but unfortunately Illinoisans have been relying on it as if it were,” Mulroe said. “We need to raise the minimum wage in an effort to give working-class people the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.”

The bill quickly passed out of committee yesterday before finding its way onto the floor for the vote. Shortly after the committee, the call to raise the minimum wage was echoed in the State of the State Address.

Under the new legislation, the minimum wage would be raised from $8.25 to $9 beginning July 1 of this year, and would continue to rise by $0.50 every subsequent July 1 until 2019. Further, the new law would establish that the power to control the minimum wage be a function of the state and institute a “denial and limitation” of existing home rule powers.

The new measure also contains language that would benefit small businesses: for companies with 50 employees or less, these companies would receive a credit based on the increase of the minimum wage aimed at covering the difference in wages.

The measure now moves on to the House.

Category: Showcase

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