SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is recognizing deputy majority leader, State Representative Mary Flowers, for receiving the National Distinguished Advocacy Award from the American Cancer Society Action Network.

“Leader Flowers is the quintessential elected representative. She is well-convicted in her values and leads with determination that is only matched by her kind heart,” said Speaker Welch. “Most importantly, she knows how marginalized communities can be better served by government. This is particularly the case when it comes to access to health care.”

During her more than 30 years in the General Assembly, Leader Flowers has advanced efforts to improve disadvantaged communities’ access to health care. In 2021, Flowers continued these efforts by sponsoring House Bill 1779, which will require health insurance policies and managed care plans to include coverage for biomarker testing for diagnosis, treatment, or ongoing monitoring of an individual’s condition. Biomarkers are defined as characteristics that are objectively measured and evaluated as an indicator of normal biological processes. Biomarker testing is used to examine blood or tissue to find cancer and other complications.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes, although there are over 16 million cancer survivors alive nationwide, cancer is the second leading cause of death for Illinois residents. The American Cancer Society awarded Leader Flowers the National Distinguished Advocacy Award, the highest award for elected officials who help lead the fight against cancer. With House Bill 1779 becoming law, Illinois became the first state in the nation to have covered biomarker testing for insured individuals.

“Thanks to the tireless work of Leader Flowers, Illinois is a leader in the Midwest and the Nation when it comes to empowering patients and ensuring cancer patients have access to the best care available, regardless of income,” said Speaker Welch. “I want to congratulate Leader Flowers on her well-deserved award and express my gratitude for her hard work with the American Cancer Society to help defeat this disease.”

Speaker Emanuel “Chris” WelchRep. Emanuel Chris Welch

7th District

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