Billy Joel joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at Sunken Meadow State Park Monday for a motorcycle ride to raise breast cancer awareness that later included the governor signing legislation making it easier and less costly to get screened for the disease — often lethal if not detected early.
The ride launched Cuomo’s “Get Screened, No Excuses” campaign. It began Monday morning at the North Shore park in Kings Park, and Joel rode to Citi Field, where Cuomo stopped to sign the legislation.
The governor, his domestic partner, Sandra Lee, and group of riders then continued north to New Paltz, where the ride ended about 4 p.m. at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s regional headquarters, said Abbey Fashouer, a spokeswoman for Cuomo.
The campaign is the nation’s most aggressive effort to eliminate the barriers that often prevent women from getting screened for breast cancer, such as difficulty scheduling mammograms or burdensome insurance hurdles, officials said.
There are two other legs to the awareness campaign — on July 8 and July 13, the release said.
As part of the ride, Harley-Davidson donated a custom motorcycle ridden by Cuomo that will be auctioned off by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to raise funds for prevention and research.
In New Paltz Monday afternoon, Cuomo told a gathering the new law will improve access to screenings and cut out potential financial barriers.
“This legislation, for the first time in history . . . makes the insurance companies pay the full cost of the screening. Think about that. There is no co-pay, there is no deductible, they pay the full cost and they pay the full cost of any secondary screening. If you have to go for a second test, or a follow up, or a whatever, they pay for the full cost of screening,” Cuomo said in remarks provided by Fashouer. “The second reason was, no time. I have the kids, I’m working, and there’s just no time. This legislation says the 200 hospitals across the State of New York must stay open additional hours per week after 5 and on weekends so women can get the screenings done at a time that works for them. That is the second thing it does.”