Texas Community

In Funding Fight, Cancer Care Could Be Collateral Damage

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
03/12/15  7:44 PM PST
photo by: Michael Stravato

By Alexa Ura for The Texas Tribune

Kathleen Riley has had 14 rounds of chemotherapy and seven surgeries since she first found a lump in one of her breasts in April.

It’s a regimen Riley says she wouldn’t have started if it weren’t for the medical team at Memorial Health System of East Texas. Unable to afford a mammogram after discovering the lump, Riley, 47, received a free cancer screening at the system’s Livingston facility, a private specialty clinic that participates in the joint state-federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program. Doctors there helped her enroll in Medicaid to cover costs related to treating her cancer, including a double mastectomy performed two weeks ago.

“It saved my life,” Riley said of the cancer screening program. The disease “would’ve killed me within the year.”

Riley fears future women might not be so lucky.

The conservative Texas Senate, in its running effort to put Planned Parenthood clinics out of business, is considering changing how funding is distributed through the cancer screening program for poor, uninsured women.

Under the chamber’s proposed plan, public entities like state, county and community health clinics would get first crack at the cash. “Non-public entities” that provide screenings as part of “comprehensive” primary and preventive care would come in second place.

Read the Full Article at The Texas Tribune.