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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 13, 1997
                        1998 HEALTH CARE BUDGET

November 13, 1997

Today, the President signed into law the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, legislation which contains historic health investments in critical areas. This important bill expands the nation's biomedical research investment by nearly $1 billion; extends AIDS prevention efforts and treatments to more Americans; takes new steps to prevent chronic and environmental diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer; improves health care in underserved rural areas; and enhances efforts to prevent and control infectious diseases.

A Historic Investment in Biomedical Research. The Labor-HHS bill increases funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by over $900 million, for a total of $13.6 billion for NIH in FY 1998. This increase will be used to advance research in a number of critical areas, such as cancer research, the Human Genome Project, heart disease, and mental health research. This funding will also support a new AIDS vaccine center, which will help fulfill the President's commitment to develop an AIDS vaccine.

Increased Funding for the Ryan White Care Act. The bill increases funding by $153.5 million for the Ryan White Care Act which helps prevent and treat HIV and AIDS. The bill includes about $118 million for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), which helps low-income people with HIV gain access to promising new therapies. During any given month, ADAP helps an estimated 40,000 people with HIV, who have limited or no coverage by private insurance or Medicaid, gain access to medication.

New Steps to Prevent Chronic and Environmental Diseases. New funding provided by the bill will help to improve local diabetes prevention and control programs, establish comprehensive State diabetes prevention programs, and implement a National Diabetes Education Prevention Program to educate Americans about how to take the necessary preventive precautions against this disease, which affects over 16 million Americans. Similar programs for cancer, lead poisoning, birth defects and disabilities, fetal alcohol syndrome, and heart disease, the nation's leading killer, will be established with this $50 million increase.

New Efforts to Improve Health Care in Rural Communities. The bill includes a nearly 20 percent increase for rural outreach grants. These grants support demonstrations of new and innovative ways to extend health care services to rural communities, such as improving the use of telemedicine, and enhancing outreach efforts and information dissemination to underserved rural areas.

New Steps to Prevent and Control Infectious Diseases. The bill includes a $27 million increase to prevent and control emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. New funding will be used to improve prevention efforts and to strengthen our ability to respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases, including Lyme disease, infectious diseases in child care settings, and foodborne diseases.