TRENTON – Assembly lawmakers released a bill from committee Thursday that proponents hope will advance breast cancer screening in New Jersey.
The legislation, A2022/S792, would require insurers to cover comprehensive ultrasound breast screening if a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue, and it requires mammogram reports to contain information on breast density.
The proposal cleared the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee following a lengthy debate and along party lines. Republican lawmakers abstained from voting on the measure.
Assemblyman Troy Singleton, (D-7), the bill’s sponsor, argued the proposal will save lives by improving breast cancer screening.
“The medical providers may miss a cancer,” Singleton said. “[This] helps give a better understanding.”
Medical professionals told lawmakers it’s much easier to pick up cancer cells on an ultrasound test as opposed to a mammogram. Proponents argued the bill is necessary in order for insurers to cover additional tests for patients that doctors may recommend.
Opponents to the legislation, which also included medical care professionals, argued the bill would increase costs while providing “a false sense of security,” said Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz, (R-21).
“You vote no on this bill and you look like a bad guy. But, in reality, there are issues with this bill that we need to look at,” she said. “I think we have to be careful not to think that this is going to be a solution. It’s not a solution.”
Other lawmakers, including Democrats, agreed with Munoz on the importance of “thinking very carefully” on the legislation, said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, (D-7), the committee’s chairman.
“If we go ahead and make this a standard … you set a standard of care and we don’t even know what the standard of care should be,” he said, suggesting more study is needed before crafting a statute.
Republicans who abstained indicated they were willing to change their votes on the Assembly floor after more consideration.