Kentucky lawmakers battle over cancer funding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky lawmakers working to craft a new state budget wrangled Thursday over the fate of state-funded cancer screening programs in a state afflicted by some of the nation's highest cancer rates.

The discussion was highly personal for some budget negotiators, who are cancer survivors or saw loved ones lose their battles against the disease.

Senate President Robert Stivers argued that continued state funding is unnecessary because the federal health care law covers the early detection programs. The Manchester Republican suggested the state money spent on cancer screenings could be redirected to other public health programs.

House Democrats countered there's still a need for state-backed screening programs for ovarian, breast and colon cancer until it's known how many Kentuckians have enrolled in health insurance coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

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