White House Ceremony Promotes New Medicaid Law Expanding Coverage for Breast/Cervical Cancer Treatment
President Clinton on Jan. 4 hosted a White House signing ceremony for the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000, which will offer uninsured patients with incomes up to 250% of the federal poverty level, or 35,000 for a family of three, treatment for the two cancers through Medicaid, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the new 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," Clinton said, adding, "Doctors and hospitals can start treatment immediately" if the states implement the program "as quickly as possible." 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 KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.