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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 7, 2000


Today, in his weekly radio address, President Clinton will launch a new effort to fight colorectal cancer, encourage all Americans over the age of 50 to receive their annual colorectal cancer screening, and celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He will be joined by cancer advocates from across the country who have come to Washington this weekend to join Katie Couric at a rally against colorectal cancer. The President will announce that the National Cancer Institute will invest $30 million over the next five years to help doctors expand and improve screening procedures for colorectal cancer and address the chronic under-use of these life-saving tools. He will also launch new efforts to educate all Medicare beneficiaries about the importance of preventive care. Finally, the President will challenge Congress to remove major barriers facing Medicare beneficiaries seeking preventive care by, passing legislation to expand Medicare to include more sophisticated colorectal cancer screening tests for people over 50 and enacting the Clinton-Gore A budget proposal to eliminate all cost-sharing requirements for colorectal screening and other preventive procedures under Medicare. The President will also praise Vice President Gore and the First Lady for their long-standing efforts to improve cancer screening, research, treatment and coverage.

COLORECTAL CANCER KILLS THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS EACH YEAR. Although death rates from colorectal cancer are at their lowest point in decades and the risk of developing this disease continues to decline, research demonstrates that more needs to be done.

STRONG NEW ACTION TO FIGHT COLORECTAL CANCER. The President will join cancer advocates from across the country in urging all Americans over 50 to go for colorectal cancer screening and launch a new effort to improve prevention, screening, and treatment of this disease. The President will:

CHALLENGE THE CONGRESS TO PASS A STRONG, ENFORCEABLE PATIENTS' BILL OF RIGHTS AND TAKE A STAND AGAINST GENETIC DISCRIMINATION. The President will urge the Congress not adjourn before passing a strong, enforceable Patients' Bill of Rights that assures that cancer patients - and all patients - have access to the specialty care they need. He will also challenge them to finish the job begun by the bipartisan Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and pass legislation ensuring that genetic information used to help predict, prevent, and treat disease will not be used to discriminate against Americans seeking employment or health insurance. Studies demonstrate that the fear of discrimination is so pervasive that almost one-third of individuals offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial to identify the gene linked with breast cancer declined, citing concerns about discrimination and loss of privacy.

STATE HIS INTENTION TO SIGN INTO A LAW NEW TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR UNINSURED WOMEN WITH BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER. The President will praise the Senate's recent unanimous passage of the Breast and Cervical Treatment Act of 1999 -- legislation providing States with an important new Medicaid coverage option for low-income, uninsured women with breast and cervical cancer. This action virtually assures that the Congress will present the President with legislation that he was pleased to include in this year's budget and that he will be proud to sign into law, and he will urge the Congress to pass the final bill without further delay.

BUILDS ON THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION'S LONGSTANDING COMMITMENT TO FIGHTING BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER. The Clinton-Gore Administration has responded to the significant threat posed by cancer with increased efforts in research, prevention and treatment. During the Clinton-Gore Administration, funding for breast and cervical cancer research, prevention and treatment increased from approximately $283 million in FY 1993 to $623 million in FY 2000. President Clinton enacted the Mammography Quality Standards Act to ensure the quality of mammograms. This year, the President announced that Medicare would begin to cover the routine care costs associated with participation in clinical trials, removing a major barrier to study participation. Fighting the spread of this disease has also been a high priority for both Vice President Gore and First Lady Hillary Clinton. Al Gore successfully fought for historic increases in funding for cancer research, prevention and treatment at the National Cancer Institutes during the Clinton-Gore Administration. Hillary Clinton launched the Medicare Mammography Campaign to urge older women to get mammograms and to promote the use of Medicare coverage for mammography and helped develop and implement the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, a public-private partnership coordinated at the Department of Health and Human Services.

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