SEYMOUR — The Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee chairwoman has charged State Rep. Leonard C. Greene Jr., R-105th District, with advocating for a budget last year that would have affected women’s access to breast cancer screenings and may have closed health clinics.
Greene, 32, of Roosevelt Drive, who has served the district since 2010, is being challenged for the seat by Selectman Theresa W. Conroy, 55, a Democrat who served in the seat 2008-10. Election Day is less than a week away.
Katherine Grace, chairwoman of the Beacon Falls Democratic Town Committee, alleged in a recent release promoting Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October that Greene advocated for a Republican budget proposal in 2011 that sought to eliminate nearly $500,000 in funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, as well as more than $8.4 million dedicated to statewide community health services.
She charged that the measure would have had an especially strong impact on women without health insurance and lower-income patients.
Conroy, 55, an advanced practice registered nurse for Minute Clinic at CVS locations in the area, said she agrees with Grace’s comments. These screenings should not be cut in any budget, and the state needs to ensure women are getting these services, she said.
“We have to make sure everyone is being protected,” Conroy said.
Greene denied the claims, saying it’s “absolutely absurd” that he would support measures that would jeopardize women’s health.
According to the federal government, under the Affordable Health Care Act, these early prevention breast cancer screenings are mandated under federal law as of September 2010, he said. There has been a decrease in demand for state assistance, primarily because insurance companies are already required to cover screenings, without co-pays or deductibles, Greene said.
The Republican plan had some cuts in it, he said, but the budget focused on duplicative spending, and the items are already covered under federal law.
Greene noted that Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and the Democratic legislative majority also cut the same program included in the Republican proposal.
“On a personal level, it bothers me and is unfortunate my opponent would try to paint me as anti-women’s health and against breast cancer early prevention,” Greene said. “That’s just absolutely ridiculous.”