JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Local state representative Rebecca Alexander proposed a bill that’s aiming to get the mammogram process, all the way up to potential diagnosis, paid for 100%.

Alexander said this bill is the second part of a bill passed last year.

“This bill goes one step further, and it will take away any cost-sharing for the patient,” said Alexander.

At State of Franklin Healthcare Associates Imaging Center in Johnson City, medical staff say the state offers financial support to remove any cancer; it’s just getting to that point for patients that is difficult.

“But, if you don’t diagnose that cancer, then you can’t get to that safety net to have the treatment that’s required,” said Chief Imaging Physician Dr. Raymond Kohne.

He said this step is crucial.

“If a woman comes in and just says, ‘well, it’s iffy. I can’t afford it.’ Then, that puts them at greater risk until they’ve got a giant lump,” said Dr. Kohne. “Once they have a giant lump there, then most people are going to spend the money, but by then they have a battle on their hands.”

One of those battles is choosing between caring for themselves or their family.

“Because if women are worried about if they’re going to feed their family and eat, or have a doctor’s appointment, it makes a huge difference in what they choose,” said Alexander.

With this bill, she is working with legislators in Nashville to alleviate the patient’s financial battle as much as possible.

“We just want to make it available because breast cancer is such a killer of women, and if we can diagnose breast cancer at a stage one versus a stage three, we’ve saved a life,” said Alexander.

The bill was filed on Jan. 20 in the Tennessee House and has since been assigned to the Insurance Committees for review.

You can learn more about House Bill 0355 by following this link.