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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 9, 2000


I am extremely pleased that today the House passed H.R. 4386, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, in an overwhelming bipartisan vote. Each year, thousands of women who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer do not receive the comprehensive coverage they need, despite extraordinary efforts by Federal health programs to provide that care. This legislation, which I was proud to include in this year's budget, will provide states with the option to provide the full Medicaid benefit package without delay to uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through Federal screening programs.

I also want to commend the Congress for today's strong bipartisan vote in support of the Long Term Care Security Act. This legislation, which I have long advocated, provides authorization for the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program to offer long term care insurance to current and retired Federal employees. I hope that the legislation serves as a model for all private employers and encourages them to provide this type of coverage to their employees. While this is an important step, it is only one step. We must also continue to work to pass a broad range of long term care initiatives, including a $3,000 tax credit for people with long-term care needs or their caregivers; new funding for services which support family caregivers of older persons; and efforts to enable states to improve equity in Medicaid eligibility for people in home- and community-based settings.

I am encouraged by the news of Congress acting on these significant policy initiatives. We need to build on these achievements and act now to pass a range of policies of importance to the American people, including the creation of a strong, enforceable, Patients' Bill of Rights and a new voluntary prescription drug benefit option as we take steps to modernize and strengthen the Medicare program. And finally, we must redouble our efforts to expand high quality, affordable coverage for all Americans. I urge the Congress to work towards passing the Administration's health coverage proposals that would expand coverage to at least 5 million uninsured Americans and provide health services to millions more by providing new, affordable health insurance options for parents, 19 to 20 year olds, legal immigrants, workers between jobs, and the near elderly.