According to a new report by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Florida is among many states that have “missed opportunities to enact laws and policies that could not only save money and generate revenue but also save lives.” In Florida, the report finds that cancer screenings for women have been particularly neglected in state policies.
The report, titled How Do You Measure Up?: A Progress Report on State Legislative Activity to Reduce Cancer Incidence and Mortality, “ranks state policies in five priority areas.”
The five “priority areas,” according to a press release announcing the report, are:
- breast and cervical cancer early detection program funding
- colorectal screening coverage laws
- smoke-free laws
- tobacco prevention program funding
- tobacco taxes.
The study analyzes whether states have either “well-balanced policies and good practices,” or whether they are falling short, in these health policy areas.
Florida is one of seven states that is falling short in every single one of these areas. Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee are the other states that are also falling short in every category.
According to a press release from the Cancer Action Network:
“State legislators should support laws and policies that help people fight cancer by emphasizing disease prevention, making health care affordable and accessible and focusing on quality of life,” said John R. Seffrin, PhD, chief executive officer of ACS CAN. “Missed opportunities to pass laws that fight and prevent cancer not only leave new state revenue and health savings on the table, but deny the potential for saving countless lives from a disease that still kills 1,500 people every day.”
One area where the Cancer Society scores Florida particularly low is in state appropriations for breast and cervical cancer screening programs.
According to a state-by-state analysis, Florida “allocates no money for the program.”
The group’s press release says that “many states are slashing funding to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which provides low-income and uninsured women with access to life-saving mammograms and Pap tests.” The group also warns that “decreased funding means that fewer eligible women across the United States have access to lifesaving screenings.”
Public funding for women’s health in Florida has taken a hit this past year. The state’s budget (with added line-item vetoes from Gov. Rick Scott) cut millions in funding for women’s health.
One policy research group recently stated that the severity of the cuts to the state’s public health funding was “unnecessarily harmful.”