HARTFORD, CT — The state Senate gave final passage Friday to a bill that redefines infertility treatment so that it includes coverage for cancer patients or anyone with a medical condition that threatens their fertility.
As they debated the bill they invited Melissa Thompson, one of the advocates, to sit on the dias next to Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Thompson teamed up with Rep. Matt Lesser, a Middletown Democrat who is also a cancer survivor, to advocate for passage of the legislation. She was diagnosed with breast cancer after the birth of her first child and had to spend $12,000 to preserve her fertility while she went through treatment.
“No one should be forced to make the agonizing choice I faced after my cancer diagnosis — the choice to compromise either my survival or the ability to have a family in the future,” Thompson said. “Thanks to this bill, those diagnosed with cancer can focus on saving their own lives, while not precluding future families.”
The bill had already passed the House 148-0.
Lesser, who has been cancer free for five years, said he was diagnosed on a Tuesday and in a very short period of time he had to make a decision about preserving his fertility before undergoing treatment. He said it was mentioned almost as an afterthought as he was leaving the doctor’s office still trying to process the cancer diagnosis.
“No one should have to deal with that,” Lesser said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has criticized lawmakers over the past few days for legislation that would impact the insurance industry or increase insurance premiums, but he doesn’t seem to view this legislation as a mandate.
“While we must review every piece of legislation thoroughly, we commend the proponents of this bill for their thoughtful, industry-informed approach to this proposal,” Meg Green, a spokeswoman for Malloy, said. “This is exactly what Governor Malloy has called for — when addressing gaps in coverage, policymakers should also consider the insurance industry’s expertise and the impact legislation will have on healthcare costs for all consumers.”