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Mitchell: 'We need more women in politics'

Debbie Wasserman Schultz is fighting a Medicare policy that won't cover genetic testing for the breast cancer gene unless the patient is already diagnosed.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Democratic National Committee chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, laughs along with other party members as Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton pokes fun at how much time the DNC chair spent in Arizona during the last election cycle, during their summer meeting on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Beating breast cancer as a mom of young children made Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz reshape her priorities as a politician and leader of the Democratic Party, she told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, also a breast cancer survivor, on Tuesday.

“There [are] two lenses you look through when you survive cancer and when you're a parent,” Wasserman Schultz said on Andrea Mitchell Reports Tuesday. “Both of those are really what shapes the rest of your outlook. And knowing that every day is a precious gift and that you have to make sure that our children are our focus, but also that you take advantage of every opportunity that you have to make sure that you can improve things for the generation that you brought into this world.”

That call to action shapes the DNC Chair’s new book, For the Next Generation:  A Wake-Up Call to Solving Our Nation's Problems. The book’s Tuesday release came as the country entered week three of the government shutdown.

Wasserman Schultz told Mitchell she’s working to fight an “irresponsible” Medicare policy that fails to cover genetic testing for the breast cancer gene unless the patient already has the disease.

“It's insane,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I found that out actually because my own mom, after I was diagnosed with the breast cancer gene and had breast cancer, assumed she should probably go get the test. And she's 20 years older than me, 66 years old, and found out she couldn't get it covered. The test is $3,000.” She pointed out that it’s far costlier to treat breast cancer than to administer the test, and that early detection can lower the cost of treatment and save lives.

Mitchell called Wasserman Schultz’s efforts to change the policy “just another reason why we need more women in politics.”

“Women could get it done, I really believe that,” Wasserman Schultz said. “My Republican colleagues in the House, women and Democrats, we all sort of only half-jokingly say if it was left to us, we could solve a whole lot of problems. That's why we need more women to run so we have more women in power to make decisions.”