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Kentucky Lawmakers Considering Legislation to Increase Colon Cancer Screenings

A Healthier Michigan
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Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislative remedies to increase colon cancer screenings across the Commonwealth. Kentucky leads the country in rates of colon cancer.

Winchester Senator Ralph Alvarado, who's a doctor, says his bill would cover the costs associated with colonoscopies, once a person receives a positive fecal test card.

"If you choose to go with the cards instead of a screening colonoscopy to begin with, and you get a positive result, you can still get your colonoscopy as part of your screening continuum,” said Alvarado. “And it cuts out that cost sharing for patients, so that more people get screened for colon cancers."

Alvarado says the cost of the measure could mean adding 8 to 30 cents per person onto private insurance premiums. He says diagnostic colonoscopies can costs patients $800 or more.

Kentucky Cancer Foundation Director Jack Hillard says the number of colon screenings has increased over the last few years, but he believes there's more work to do. "We've helped screen thousands of Kentuckians that otherwise wouldn't be screened for cancer,” Hillard said. “And we have, despite a great start, far to go."

Companion bills are making their way through the general assembly.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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