THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Shanghai, People's Republic of China) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release July 1, 1998
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON NEW MEDICARE BENEFITS
I am pleased to announce that starting today Medicare will cover two new preventive benefits to help detect osteoporosis and manage diabetes. These important benefits were part of the Balanced Budget Act I signed into law last year, which contained the most significant reforms in Medicare since the program's enactment in 1965.
Medicare's new prevention benefits will provide older American the tools they need to fight some of our most devastating chronic diseases. While one out of two women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime, many women are not aware that they have this disease until they have a broken bone or fracture. I am extremely pleased that the First Lady, Mrs. Gore and Secretary Shalala will be helping to publicize this new benefit to help women detect this disease early. Also, the new diabetes benefit is critical to the over 7 million Medicare beneficiaries who suffer from this disease. This benefit is part of our diabetes initiative that the American Diabetes Association believes is "as important to people with diabetes as the discovery of insulin in 1921."
This month marks the 33rd anniversary of the Medicare program -- one of our nation's most important commitments to older Americans and people with disabilities. I am extremely pleased that we can strengthen this important program and help some of our most vulnerable Americans stay healthier and stronger.
New Medicare Benefits July 1, 1998
New Benefit To Help Women Detect Osteoporosis. Twenty-five million Americans suffer from osteoporosis, and one out of two women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture during her lifetime. Unfortunately, many women are not aware that they have this disease until they have a broken bone or fracture. Medicare will now cover bone mass measurement tests to ensure that women are aware if they are at risk and can take the steps they need to prevent it.
New Diabetes Management Benefit. Medicare will also now cover blood glucose monitors and testing strips, as well as a wide range of education programs to help people with diabetes manage this disease. Sixteen million Americans and nearly 20 percent of Americans over the age of 65 suffer from this devastating disease. Too often, these Americans do not have the information or tools to manage diabetes and prevent costly side effects, such as blindness or amputations. This new benefit is critically important to the over 7 million Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes and it is part of the diabetes initiative the President signed into law that the American Diabetes Association praised as being "as important to people with diabetes as the discovery of insulin in 1921."
Builds on Other Important Prevention Benefits the Administration Implemented Last January. Today's announcement builds on the other Medicare screening benefits for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and cervical cancer implemented last January. Medicare now guarantees annual mammograms for every Medicare beneficiary over 40, and waives the deductible, making annual breast cancer screenings more affordable. Coverage was also expanded for the early detection of cervical cancer and for regular examinations for colorectal cancer.