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Clinton Lauds Medicare's Expanded Cancer Screenings

Clinton cancer graphic

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 27) -- Effective New Year's Day, millions of Medicare beneficiaries will be eligible for additional cancer screenings, giving them "the gifts of life, health and many holidays," President Clinton said Saturday.

Clinton used his weekly radio address to highlight the increased benefits that were announced earlier this year when the White House struck its balanced-budget deal with Congress.

The chiefly government-funded Medicare program provides health care to about 38 million people, most of them elderly.

"Nearly every American family has been touched by the shadow of cancer," Clinton said. "My own mother passed away just about four years ago from cancer and, especially at this time of year, I miss her a lot."

Clinton's mother, Virginia Kelley, died of breast cancer in January 1994.

The White House says the expanded Medicare coverage will include the following:

  • Every woman over 40 will be guaranteed the option of annual mammograms. Women over that age are more at risk for breast cancer.
  • Cervical cancer screenings (pap smears and pelvic exams) will be available every three years. Women considered at risk will be eligible for annual screenings. Medicare will cover lab tests, annual deductibles and clinical breast exams.
  • For the first time, Medicare will cover screenings for colon-rectal cancer.

"Most Americans don't receive this important preventive test," the president said. "But when we can catch this cancer early, we can beat it more than 90 percent of the time."

Current law provides for regular colorectal screening tests only if the patient has symptoms indicating cancer or another disease.

"By detecting cancer early on we offer our loved ones one of the greatest gifts of all -- the gifts of life, health and many holidays to come," Clinton said.

Cancer is considered the second-ranked killer in the United States. The American Cancer Society says about 560,000 people in the United States died from cancer this year. That's more than 1,500 people a day. One in every four deaths in the United States is attributed to cancer, the organization says.

In Other News:

Weekend Dec. 27 & 28, 1997

Clinton Adviser: No Major Tax Cut In 1998
Top House Republican Wants Clinton Aide Fired
D'Amato: Time To 'Shake Up' School System
Clinton Lauds Medicare's Expanded Cancer Screenings

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