CANCER: Clinton Offers $220M for Uninsured Women
President Clinton Saturday proposed that states provide full Medicaid benefits for uninsured women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, the AP/New York Times reports. In his weekly radio address, the president said that his FY 2001 budget -- scheduled to be released today -- will include $220 million over the next five years so states can provide Medicaid coverage to low-income, uninsured women who are diagnosed through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (2/6). The program screens more than 360,000 women per year, but officials indicated that thousands of women still face "financial barriers to care" (Reuters/Boston Herald, 2/5). Clinton said, "At a time when we know more about cancer than ever and can fight it better than ever, we must not leave women to face cancer alone. Too often, uninsured women face a patchwork of care, inadequate care, or no care at all." According to a White House briefing paper, nearly 2 million women will be diagnosed with breast of cervical cancer over the next 10 years and 500,000 will succumb to those diseases. In addition, the paper indicated that uninsured women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than those with coverage. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the new Medicaid proposal will allow states to allocate more money for cancer detection, resulting in "a substantial increase" in mammograms and Pap smears (Barr, Washington Post, 2/6). The American Cancer Society hailed the announcement. CEO John Seffrin said, "If enacted, it will provide better access to comprehensive health insurance and care for uninsured women with breast and cervical cancer and will tear down the financial barriers some women face. The bottom line is that this proposal can be a lifesaver for many low income women" (ACS release, 2/5). In their response Saturday, the GOP indicated that they have supported increased funding for cancer screening, pointing to a bill sponsored by Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) that has the backing of 270 House members. House Republican Conference Chair J.C. Watts (Okla.) said that the GOP would work with Clinton to finance the bill, as fighting cancer "transcends party lines and partisan bickering" (Washington Post, 2/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.