PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE:
Enacted Most Comprehensive Medicare Reforms in History. In the 1997 Balanced Budget, protected, modernized and extended the life of the Medicare Trust Fund while offering new options for patient choice and preventive care. New preventive benefits passed include coverage of annual mammograms, coverage of screening tests for both colorectal and cervical cancer, and a diabetes self-management benefit. Proposed a plan to reform and modernize Medicares benefits, including an optional prescription drug benefit that is affordable and available to all beneficiaries. In March 1999, the Medicare Trustees reported that the life of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended until 2015. In 1993, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999.
Enacted Single Largest Investment in Health Care for Children since 1965. The five year, $24 billion State Childrens Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) will provide health care coverage for up to five million children. Two million children have already been enrolled, and, in October 1999 President Clinton announced new outreach initiatives to enroll millions more uninsured, eligible children. Last year, the President launched a nationwide Insure Kids Now campaign that will bring together major TV and radio networks, healthcare organizations, religious groups and other community-based organizations to help enroll more children in the Children's Health Insurance Program, with the goal of enrolling 5 million of the estimated 10 million children eligible for health insurance under SCHIP within 5 years.
Passed Meaningful Health Insurance Reform. Signed into law the Kennedy-Kassebaum Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which helps individuals keep health insurance when they change jobs, guarantees renewability of coverage, and ensures access to health insurance for small businesses. As many as 25 million people will benefit from this law.
Enacted Historic Comprehensive FDA Reform that Expedited the Review and Approval of New Drug Products. The President signed into law the 1997 FDA Modernization Act that includes important measures to modernize and streamline the regulation of biological products; increase patient access to experimental drugs and medical devices; and accelerate review of important new medications. This reform builds on the administrative initiatives implemented under the Vice Presidents reinventing government effort, which have led U.S. drug approvals to be as fast or faster than any other industrialized nation. Average drug approval times have dropped since the beginning of the Administration from almost three years to just over one year.
Signed Mental Health Parity Provisions into Law. To help eliminate discrimination against individuals with mental illnesses, the President signed into law mental health parity provisions to prohibit health plans from establishing separate lifetime and annual limits for mental health coverage. In 1999, the White House held the landmark, first-ever Conference on Mental Health and released the Surgeon Generals first Report on Mental Health.
Extended Strong, Enforceable Patient Protections for Millions of Americans. Leading by example, the President directed all federal agencies to ensure that their employees and beneficiaries have the benefits and rights guaranteed under the proposed Patients Bill of Rights. 85 million Americans covered by federal health plans have the security of knowing they will have fair access to health care thanks to the President's work. The President and Vice President have called for passage of the bipartisan Patients Bill of Rights Act, to ensure that all Americans have essential protections.
Fighting Medicare Fraud and Waste. Since 1993, the Clinton-Gore Administration has assigned more federal prosecutors and FBI agents to fight health care fraud than ever before. As a result, convictions have gone up 410%, saving more than $50 billion in health care claims. The Balanced Budget Act gave an array of new weapons in our fight to keep scam artists and fly-by-night health care out of Medicare and Medicaid.
Released Strong New Protections for the Privacy of Electronic Medical Records. The Clinton-Gore Administration released a new regulation to protect the privacy of electronic medical records held by health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers. This rule would limit the use and release of private health information without consent; restrict the disclosure of protected health information to the minimum amount of information necessary; establish new requirements for disclosure of information to researchers and others seeking access to health records; and establish new administrative and criminal sanctions for the improper use or disclosure of private information.
Implementing Comprehensive Nursing Home Quality Initiative. The Clinton-Gore Administration issued the toughest nursing home regulations in the history of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, including increased monitoring of nursing homes to ensure that they are in compliance; requiring states to crack down on nursing homes that repeatedly violate health and safety requirements; and changing the inspection process to increase the focus on preventing bedsores, malnutrition and resident abuse. President Clinton won $43.5 million increase in FY00 to fund more rigorous inspections of nursing facilities and improved federal oversight and enforcement of nursing home quality.
Ensuring Safe Food for Americas Families. President Clinton created the Presidents Council on Food Safety to develop a comprehensive food safety strategic plan for federal agencies. The Administration implemented a new science-based inspection system and reduced the prevalence of salmonella in raw meat and poultry by as much as 50 percent. Formed national computer network of public health laboratories to help rapidly identify and stop outbreaks of foodborne illness by performing DNA "fingerprinting" on foodborne pathogens. The President signed the Food Quality Protection Act, which included special safeguards for kids and strengthened laws governing pesticides and food safety, and he issued new rules to prevent foodborne illness caused by pathogens such as E. coli.
Raised Child Immunization Rates to All Time High. Childhood immunization coverage rates in 1998 were the highest ever recorded. 90 percent of toddlers in 1996, 1997 and 1998 received the most critical doses of each of the routinely recommended vaccines, surpassing the Presidents 1993 goal.
Issued Regulation that Drug Companies Provide Adequate Testing for Children. President Clinton directed an important Food and Drug Administration regulation requiring manufacturers to do studies on pediatric populations for new prescription drugs -- and those currently on the market -- to ensure that prescription drugs have been adequately tested for the unique needs of children. [Domestic Policy Council]
New Efforts to Help Consumers Understand Important Information on Over the Counter Drug Labels. The President recently unveiled a historic new FDA regulation that, for the first time, requires over-the-counter drug products to use a new product label with larger print and clearer language, making it easier for consumers to understand product warnings and comply with dosage guidance. The new regulation takes a critical first step towards preventing the tens of thousands of unnecessary hospitalizations caused by misuse of over-the-counter medications each year.
Unprecedented Investment in Biomedical Research. Two years ago, the President called for an increase of almost 50 percent over 5 years in the NIH budget as part of his Research for America Fund. Since that time, the NIH budget has increased by over $4.3 billion and with the funding proposed by the President this year, the Administration will be one year ahead of schedule in reaching the 50 percent goal. NIH now supports the highest levels of research ever on nearly all types of disease and health conditions, making new breakthroughs possible in vaccine development and use, the treatment of chronic disease, and prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and neurological diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
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