Today I am extremely pleased to sign the "Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000," which invests over $990 million over 10 years in an important new health option for thousands of low-income, uninsured women with breast or cervical cancer. I was proud to include it in my FY 2001 budget, and I am proud to sign this bipartisan legislation into law.
Women without health insurance are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than those who are insured. Not only are they less likely to be screened, but the course of treatment they elect is often affected by their ability to pay for services. This important legislation will expand the limited treatment options now available to low-income, uninsured women with breast cancer who are in the unique situation of learning about their condition through federally sponsored screening programs.
The new assistance today's action will provide for thousands of women with breast or cervical cancer continues my administration's longstanding commitment to breast and cervical cancer research, prevention, and treatment. It builds on a record of administration achievements that includes legislation to ensure the quality of mammograms and prevent drive-by mastectomies, increasing access to cancer clinical trials, and increasing funding for breast and cervical cancer research, prevention, and treatment from $283 million to over $620 million during my administration.
As important as today's achievement is, we have many health care issues that still must be addressed. I urge the Congress to pass additional coverage expansions including a new, affordable health insurance option for parents and new health insurance options for Americans facing unique barriers to coverage, such as those aged 55 to 65, workers in small businesses, and legal immigrants. I also urge the Congress to pass legislation streamlining the enrollment of uninsured children in health insurance programs. Taking these long overdue steps will bring us closer to our larger goal—ensuring that every American has access to high quality, affordable health insurance.