CERVICAL CANCER: Senate Okays Treatment For Uninsured Women
The Senate yesterday passed the Breast and Cervical Treatment Act, which would "give states the option of providing Medicaid reimbursements" for breast and cervical cancer care, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. Such treatments "would be tied" to a 1990 CDC program that allows women without health insurance to be screened for these cancers. President Clinton indicated he would be "proud" to sign the measure (AP/Baltimore Sun, 10/5). The Senate version of the bill is "somewhat different" from the one that passed the House in May. Under the House bill, the federal government would match 75% of state spending to cover women diagnosed with cancer by the CDC program. The Senate version would offer states the "same match as for the State Children's Health Insurance Program," which is "generally 15% higher than states' regular Medicaid matching rate." Reacting to yesterday's passage, Gerald Woolam of the American Cancer Society said, "Enactment of this proposal will help women focus their energies on fighting their disease, instead of worrying about how to pay for their treatment" (CongressDaily/A.M. 10/5).
HPV Language Omitted
Rep. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), "a practicing physician and a cancer survivor," expressed disappointment yesterday that the Senate bill "deleted the cervical cancer education and prevention provisions" contained in the House bill, which "would have established a national prevention program to educate health care providers and the public about the human papillomavirus, the cause of nearly all cervical cancer." According to Coburn, an education program is needed to inform women that condoms do not protect against HPV. He said, "The actions of the U.S. Senate threaten women's health by continuing the HPV cover-up. ... I look forward to lifting the shroud of secrecy about HPV in a House-Senate conference. ... The health and lives of millions of young women will be impacted by the eventual outcome of this legislation" (Coburn release, 10/4).