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President Clinton and First Lady Promote Screenings and Treatment for Breast, Cervical and Other Cancers

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President Clinton and First Lady Promote Screenings and Treatment for Breast, Cervical and Other Cancers

Highlights the Administration's Strong Record on Women and Children's Health

January 4, 2001

Today, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will join advocates for women and families in a White House ceremony celebrating the enactment of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000. The President will announce that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) is releasing new guidance today to all 50 states advising them of how they can provide this important new health insurance option for thousands of low-income, uninsured women with breast cancer. President Clinton also will release an executive memorandum directing all Federal agencies to make at least four hours of leave available each year for employees to receive important health screenings for cancer and other preventable diseases. In addition, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will highlight the recently enacted Children's Health Act of 2000, which promotes research on children's health issues, as the latest step in the Administration's strong record on women and children's health.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR LOW-INCOME UNINSURED WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST OR CERVICAL CANCER ARE LIMITED. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides breast and cervical cancer screening to over 360,000 women without access to these services annually. Although Federal government-sponsored screening programs make every effort to assist individuals diagnosed with disease to access treatment, thousands of women still face financial barriers to care, and those that receive some help frequently do not receive comprehensive coverage for services they need.

PRESIDENT CLINTON ENCOURAGES STATES TO PROVIDE NEW INSURANCE OPTION FOR VULNERABLE WOMEN WITH BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER. Today, the President will announce that HCFA is sending guidance to all 50 states encouraging them to take advantage of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000. This new option, which costs $995 million over 10 years and was originally included in the President's FY 2001 Budget, will allow states to provide women diagnosed with cancer through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program with access to insurance that covers critical treatment services. The guidance being issued today will clarify that the new law will:

  • Provide immediate, comprehensive health insurance to low-income, uninsured women diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer. States have the option to provide the full Medicaid benefit package, at an enhanced Federal matching rate, to uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. The women will be eligible for this benefit throughout the duration of their treatment, eliminating financial barriers to medical care for these women. These women will be able to access critical health care services necessary to treat their cancer, including radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and other health care services, such as basic laboratory and palliative care services, in order to provide a high quality standard of care to these patients.
  • Allow women to access life saving treatment without delay. The guidance will make clear that states also have the option to allow health care providers and other qualified entities to provide critical health care services to women pending official enrollment in Medicaid, increasing the chances of survival for these women and allowing them to focus on fighting these terrible diseases not about how they will pay for their care.
  • Result in increased state spending on breast and cervical cancer screening programs. Some states currently supplement the Federal funds they receive for breast and cervical cancer with their own funds for diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. Estimates indicate that, under similar proposals, states would redirect these funds to supplement their investment in screening for breast and cervical cancer, resulting in a substantial increase in the number of mammograms and pap smears provided.

UNDETECTED AND UNTREATED CANCER CONTINUE TO HARM AMERICANS. Despite recent improvements in prevention and treatment, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States. For women age 50-69, regular mammograms can reduce the chance of death from breast cancer by approximately 30 percent. Even in women age 40-50, regular mammograms can reduce mortality rates by approximately 17 percent. Because colorectal cancers grow slowly, early detection significantly increases survival. When detected early, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. However, less than 40 percent of colorectal cancers are discovered at that stage. After the cancer has spread, the five-year survival rate drops to 65 percent. Preventive screenings and early detection, however, are not effective if patients cannot afford the treatment. Women without health insurance are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than insured women since they are likely to get needed care.

PRESIDENT CLINTON TAKES NEW EXECUTIVE ACTION TO EXPAND ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE CARE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. Today, President Clinton will issue an executive memorandum that ensures that all 1.8 million Federal employees have access to leave benefits enabling them to access preventive screenings. This executive memorandum, which is another contribution towards the Administration's success in making the Federal government a model employer, will direct all Federal departments and agencies to:

  • Ensure that all Federal employees have at least four hours of leave available annually for preventive screenings. The President will direct agencies to encourage employees to take advantage of screening programs and other preventive health services through options like promoting alternative work schedules; granting leave under the sick and annual leave programs; and granting excused absence to employees to participate in agency-sponsored preventive health activities. In addition, for employees with fewer than two weeks of accrued sick leave, agencies will provide up to four hours of excused absence each year, without loss of pay or charge to leave, for participation in preventive health screenings.
  • Develop and expand worksite health promotion and disease prevention programs. Recognizing that the workplace is an effective place to provide information on preventive health care, the President will ask Federal agencies to develop or expand programs that help employees understand their risks for disease, obtain preventive health services, and make healthy lifestyle choices. Program information will be shared with the Office of Personnel Management, which will promote best practices.

PRESIDENT CLINTON AND FIRST LADY HILLARY CLINTON HIGHLIGHT NEW INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH AND TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH. Today, the President and First Lady will highlight the importance of the Children's Health Act of 2000. This important legislation expand, and coordinates research, prevention, and treatment activities for conditions having a significant impact on children, including autism, diabetes, asthma, hearing loss, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, infant mortality, lead poisoning, and oral health. The legislation: establishes eight Centers of Excellence to promote research on the cause, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, and treatment of autism; promotes training of pediatric specialists; authorizes new research provisions, including a long-term child development study on environmental influences on children's health and a loan repayment program at NIH for health professionals doing pediatric research; and authorizes the Healthy Start program for the first time.

THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION'S STRONG RECORD ON WOMEN'S HEALTH. The Clinton-Gore Administration has a strong record on women and children's health issues. The Administration has worked tirelessly to improve women's health, including ensuring the inclusion of women in clinical trials, more than doubling funding for breast cancer research, expanding Medicare coverage of mammograms, ending drive-through deliveries, and passing and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Administration also has taken strong steps to protect a woman's right to choose and promote women's reproductive health by securing historic increases in domestic and international family planning funding, providing contraceptive coverage to more than a million women covered by federal health plans, reversing the gag rule, and enacting the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).


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