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                            January 4, 2001

Today, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will join advocates for women and families in a White House ceremony celebrating the enactment of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000. The President will announce that the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) is releasing new guidance today to all 50 states advising them of how they can provide this important new health insurance option for thousands of low-income, uninsured women with breast cancer. President Clinton also will release an executive memorandum directing all Federal agencies to make at least four hours of leave available each year for employees to receive important health screenings for cancer and other preventable diseases. In addition, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will highlight the recently enacted Children's Health Act of 2000, which promotes research on children's health issues, as the latest step in the Administration's strong record on women and children's health.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR LOW-INCOME UNINSURED WOMEN DIAGNOSED WITH BREAST OR CERVICAL CANCER ARE LIMITED. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides breast and cervical cancer screening to over 360,000 women without access to these services annually. Although Federal government-sponsored screening programs make every effort to assist individuals diagnosed with disease to access treatment, thousands of women still face financial barriers to care, and those that receive some help frequently do not receive comprehensive coverage for services they need.

PRESIDENT CLINTON ENCOURAGES STATES TO PROVIDE NEW INSURANCE OPTION FOR VULNERABLE WOMEN WITH BREAST AND CERVICAL CANCER. Today, the President will announce that HCFA is sending guidance to all 50 states encouraging them to take advantage of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Act of 2000. This new option, which costs $995 million over 10 years and was originally included in the President's FY 2001 Budget, will allow states to provide women diagnosed with cancer through the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program with access to insurance that covers critical treatment services. The guidance being issued today will clarify that the new law will:

UNDETECTED AND UNTREATED CANCER CONTINUE TO HARM AMERICANS. Despite recent improvements in prevention and treatment, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States. For women age 50-69, regular mammograms can reduce the chance of death from breast cancer by approximately 30 percent. Even in women age 40-50, regular mammograms can reduce mortality rates by approximately 17 percent. Because colorectal cancers grow slowly, early detection significantly increases survival. When detected early, the five-year survival rate is 90 percent. However, less than 40 percent of colorectal cancers are discovered at that stage. After the cancer has spread, the five-year survival rate drops to 65 percent. Preventive screenings and early detection, however, are not effective if patients cannot afford the treatment. Women without health insurance are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than insured women since they are likely to get needed care.

PRESIDENT CLINTON TAKES NEW EXECUTIVE ACTION TO EXPAND ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE CARE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES. Today, President Clinton will issue an executive memorandum that ensures that all 1.8 million Federal employees have access to leave benefits enabling them to access preventive screenings. This executive memorandum, which is another contribution towards the Administration's success in making the Federal government a model employer, will direct all Federal departments and agencies to:

PRESIDENT CLINTON AND FIRST LADY HILLARY CLINTON HIGHLIGHT NEW INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH AND TREATMENT FOR CHILDREN'S HEALTH. Today, the President and First Lady will highlight the importance of the Children's Health Act of 2000. This important legislation expand, and coordinates research, prevention, and treatment activities for conditions having a significant impact on children, including autism, diabetes, asthma, hearing loss, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, infant mortality, lead poisoning, and oral health. The legislation: establishes eight Centers of Excellence to promote research on the cause, diagnosis, early detection, prevention, and treatment of autism; promotes training of pediatric specialists; authorizes new research provisions, including a long-term child development study on environmental influences on children's health and a loan repayment program at NIH for health professionals doing pediatric research; and authorizes the Healthy Start program for the first time.

THE CLINTON-GORE ADMINISTRATION'S STRONG RECORD ON WOMEN'S HEALTH. The Clinton-Gore Administration has a strong record on women and children's health issues. The Administration has worked tirelessly to improve women's health, including ensuring the inclusion of women in clinical trials, more than doubling funding for breast cancer research, expanding Medicare coverage of mammograms, ending drive-through deliveries, and passing and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Administration also has taken strong steps to protect a woman's right to choose and promote women's reproductive health by securing historic increases in domestic and international family planning funding, providing contraceptive coverage to more than a million women covered by federal health plans, reversing the gag rule, and enacting the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE).

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