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More Money for Breast/Cervical Screening

More Money for Breast/Cervical Screening

Despite a tight proposed domestic budget for fiscal 2003, President Bush wants to increase spending on the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The president proposed a $9 million increase in funding for the year that begins October 1, 2002. The program provides screening services, including clinical breast examinations, mammograms, pelvic examinations, and Pap tests, to underserved women. It also funds postscreening diagnostic services, such as surgical consultation and biopsy, to ensure that women with abnormal results receive timely and adequate referrals. 

The increase, if Congress agrees, will bring program funding to $203 million. The increased funding would allow an additional 29,000 diagnostic tests to be performed in addition to increasing education and outreach programs for women and health-care providers, improving quality assurance measures for screening, and improving access to screening and follow-up services.

In most states, the Medicaid program will cover cancer treatment for women without health insurance who are diagnosed with cancer through the CDC screening program. To date, Health and Human Services (HHS) has approved requests from 34 states to expand Medicaid to cover these women since Congress authorized such coverage in October 2000. 

HHS will move quickly to approve similar requests from other states. In addition, President Bush signed legislation in January that allows states to expand Medicaid to cover Native-American women diagnosed through the CDC program. Since its creation, the program has provided more than 3 million screening examinations and diagnosed more than 8,600 breast cancers, 39,400 precancerous cervical lesions, and 660 cervical cancers.

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