By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
Del. Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, recently introduced legislation that aims to mitigate some of the challenges that people may face before they receive a cancer diagnosis
McQuinn, a longtime friend of Congressman Don McEachin who died from cancer on Nov. 28 at age 61, recently introduced Bill 2356, which would require health insurers to cover colorectal screening without copayments or deductibles. That includes an outpatient colonoscopy, even if someone has used Colo-Guard, an over-the-counter test as an initial screening at home. The legislation proposes that health insurers cover all preventive screening for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopies.
For insurance purposes, the bill states, “The initial screening test shall not be considered completed until a follow-up colonoscopy is performed.”
The legislation was initially proposed by McEachin, as part of a push by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network in Virginia to ensure that health insurance covers all preventive screening for colorectal cancer, including colonoscopies.
Two weeks before his death, McEachin had appeared at a Richmond screening of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and told the audience: “Don’t fool around. Don’t go through my journey. Go to a doctor.”
McEachin said early detection could have spared him from the treatment that cured the disease, but caused side effects that his wife said had begun affecting his health since shortly after his first election to Congress.
“The cancer was cured,” McEachin’s wife, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin said at the recent meeting of the General Assembly “Cancer Caucus,” held on Jan. 20. She attended the meeting with Del. Ellen Campbell, R-Rockbridge, whose husband, Del. Ronnie Campbell. R-Rockbridge died from cancer two weeks after McEachin passed. Campbell’s wife was elected earlier this month to fill her late husband’s seat. They attended the meeting to honor their husbands and highlight efforts to prevent and treat cancer.
“He did not die of his cancer,” McEachin’s wife said at the meeting. “He died of all the remedial things that were done to cure the cancer: the radiation, the surgeries, the medications, the treatment…Cancer is a killer, but it can be caught in time and it can be treated and you can survive it.”
She said, “His job got him through his illness. His job was the North Star for him as he fought that battle.”