White House Ceremony Honors New Cancer Treatment Law
President Clinton yesterday hosted a White House ceremony in honor of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000, which will offer uninsured patients with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level treatment for the two cancers through Medicaid, the Los Angeles Times reports. Clinton signed the law, sponsored by then-Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.), Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) opponent in her bid for Congress, Oct. 24 without a public ceremony (Birnbaum et. al., New York Post, 10/25/00). Under the law, the government will cover the costs of any surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, follow-up care and medication for patients who undergo a free screening program operated by the CDC. The CDC has offered free screenings since 1990 at health centers, clinics and hospitals through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, but until now, the costs of treatment were not covered (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 1/5). Offering treatment to uninsured women is expected to cost $995 million over 10 years. Clinton said HCFA is releasing guidelines to the states on how to "quickly implement" the new program (Riechmann, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, 1/4). "We need to move on this in a hurry. Doctors and hospitals can start treatment immediately" if the states implement the program "as quickly as possible," Clinton added. During the signing ceremony, Clinton also extended four hours of paid leave to federal employees with less than two weeks of sick leave for health screenings (AP/Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1/5). Clinton said of the screenings, "This is an important step for everyone, and particularly for women. I hope this will spur other employers to take similar actions" (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 1/5).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.