WASHINGTON--Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) makes a big push for women voters on Monday--in general and females in Pennsylvania specifically--with a breast cancer cure plan she will debut officially on the Ellen DeGeneres show.
There is a phone briefing going on now with Clinton advisers involved in breast cancer research.
from the Clinton campaign...
Clinton Unveils Plan To Find Cure For Breast Cancer On The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Plan Includes $300 Million in Increased Funding For Research Annually And Increased Access To Treatment And Screening Services
Hillary Clinton appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today and announced her plan to find a cure for breast cancer within our lifetime. Hillary’s plan would provide $300 million a year in increased funding for breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
In addition to funding research for new treatments, these investments will also go to investigate the cause of breast cancer, including the role that environmental pollutants may have, as well as, potential genetic and hereditary links. The plan would also improve access to screenings and treatment by making mammograms more affordable and providing funding for treatment for low-income women. Under Hillary’s American Health Choices Plan, all women will have affordable, quality health insurance regardless of employment, marital status, or pre-existing conditions so they get the care and treatment they need.
“I know your mom is a survivor, and we've lost my incredible mother-in-law to breast cancer during Bill's first term and first year in office, and I've just been really committed. I've had so many friends, and we all know people who survived and people who haven't. And I just think we should set a goal of curing breast cancer within the next decade,” said Clinton on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “We should make it absolutely totally curable, and I also really want to try to figure out what causes it, because we just don't know why some people are susceptible. I think it's probably a combination of your genes and your environment and your behavior, but we don't know quite how all that fits together and we haven't done enough research, and we also have to get to universal healthcare, which means quality, affordable healthcare for everyone.”
The plan would also improve access to screenings and treatment. Hillary’s plan will eliminate Medicare co-pays for mammograms to make them more affordable for 22 million women and guarantee breast and cervical cancer treatment to every low-Income Woman in America. She will also establish a new Racial Disparities Research Project to coordinate and disseminate cutting edge research on the impact of breast cancer among African-American and Hispanic women and guide the federal research agenda towards closing these gaps in outcomes. In addition, Hillary will create a Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research and Outreach Unit to help educate young women about the risks of breast cancer, develop more effective screening tools and treatments, and to help research and respond to the unique emotional needs facing young women with breast cancer.
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers facing women in America. In 2008, an estimated 180,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women, as well as an estimated 60,000 additional cases of in situ breast cancer, for a total of 240,000 new cases. In 2007, approximately 40,460 women died from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women. Millions more are impacted as family members and friends of women who are battling breast cancer.
Hillary Clinton has a long history of working to address breast cancer. As First Lady, Hillary worked to make breast cancer a national priority by helping to direct the creation of a public-private partnership called the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer (NAPBC). Throughout the Clinton Administration, the NAPBC served as a catalyst for national efforts to advance breast cancer knowledge, research, policy, and services. Hillary was also a strong voice for more investment in cancer research, advocating successfully for a significant increase in federal funding for breast cancer research. By the end of President Clinton's term, federal funding for breast cancer had been increased to over $600 million. She also supported a new 45 cent first class stamp, the Breast Cancer Stamp, which provides revenue to support breast cancer research at the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department. She conducted listening sessions with older women to better understand why some women weren’t getting mammograms, taped public service announcements, and ultimately launched a Medicare Mammography Campaign to ensure that more women took advantage of this essential diagnostic tool. She also pushed for the successful enactment of the Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, which provides screening and treatment to low-income women – those with limited, if any, options for obtaining quality care. This life-saving program is serving 34,000 women each year. And she pushed for the enactment of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, which allows women to stay in the hospital at least 48 hours following a mastectomy.
As Senator, Hillary Clinton co-sponsored the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act, which gives the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences grant-making authority to develop research centers that examine potential environmental causes of breast cancer. She also brought the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to Adelphi University in June 2001 for a field hearing on the possible links between environmental contamination and cancer, especially high-incidence breast cancer “clusters” like the one on Long Island.
In May 2005, Senator Clinton was inducted into the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Congressional Hall of Fame for her work increasing breast cancer awareness and research funding.
This agenda below lays out the steps Hillary will take as President to elevate this disease to a pressing national priority:
Tragically, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women. In 2008, an estimated 180,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women, as well as an estimated 60,000 additional cases of in situ breast cancer, for a total of 240,000 new cases. In 2007, approximately 40,460 women died from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women. Millions more are impacted as family members and friends of women who are battling breast cancer.
A woman living in the U.S. has a one in eight lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, up from one in 11 in the 1970s. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. African American women have a higher incidence rate than white women before age 40 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women ages 15 to 54. About one percent of all breast cancer occurs in men.
Ø Set a big goal of finding a cure in our lifetime. Studies show that most young women don’t believe it will be possible to find a cure in their lifetime. Hillary wants to shatter that myth. With the significant investments she is planning to make in research, we should be able to make much more dramatic progress in identifying the causes, developing and identifying the most effective treatments, and ultimately, finding a cure. By setting a big goal, Hillary will provide national leadership on breast cancer, help leverage additional action across the country, and make clear that fighting this disease will be a top priority when she is President.
Ø Invest in the Research. Finding a cure will require ramping up our commitment to research. That is why as President, Hillary will:
o Double the NIH and National Cancer Institute budgets, Expand NCI Cancer Centers, and Establish a Best Practices Institute. We have made great strides in the fight against breast cancer in recent years. For example, we’ve learned that breast cancer isn’t just one disease, and as treatments are improving breast cancer survivors are living longer. Still, we have a long way to go. We still don’t know what causes breast cancer or the best ways to treat it. As President, Hillary will double the budgets of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and ensure that every American lives within the service area of a NCI Cancer Center. She will also establish a new Best Practices Institute – which would work as a partnership between the existing Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the private sector – to fund medical research and disseminate that information to Americans and health care professionals to increase quality and reduce costs. This institute will investigate breast cancer treatments and spread information across the country on the most effective treatments to reduce disparities. Through all of these investments, we will be able to significantly expand the number of clinical trails that are ongoing, which will enable us to accelerate the pace of research. In addition, Hillary will ask the NIH and the NCI to report on their progress to the President each year.
o Double the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. The Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program provides innovative, high-impact, cutting-edge research aimed at eradicating breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer and other diseases. Since this program was enacted, over $2 billion in breast cancer research funding has awarded and 4,000 breast cancer research grants have been granted.
o Enact the Breast Cancer Environmental Research Act and Expand Environmental Research. As President, Hillary will enact the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act, legislation that is essential to building the NIH-funded research centers that will investigate the links between environmental pollutants and breast cancer. Every year we learn more about the connections between the environment and disease, and by pushing forward on this front, this legislation will ultimately allow us to predict much earlier who will acquire breast cancer and to eliminate the pollutants that increase the risk for women who are exposed. This legislation will also allow us to develop and implement a much-needed comprehensive strategy for breast cancer research.
o Research the Genetic and Hereditary Causes of Breast Cancer. We now have the scientific capability to better understand genetically caused breast cancer through advances in mapping of the human DNA. This is the first generation that can choose to utilize this advance in technology to cure cancer. When changes called “mutations” occur in certain genes, certain cells can grow out of control and cause cancer. Women who carry the genetic markers BRCA1 and BRCA2 are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer. Hillary will provide targeted funding to the National Cancer Institute for research in this area that will help to develop specialized treatment and screenings for women who are known to carry these genetic markers and have a family history of breast cancer.
o Continue the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. The breast cancer research stamp costs $.55 and by law, 70 percent of the net amount raised from the stamp goes to the National Institutes of Health, and 30 percent goes to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense for breast cancer research grants. Since 1998, it has provided $55.5 million for breast cancer research. The stamp has to be reauthorized every two years. Hillary is committed to maintaining the stamp throughout her administration.
Ø Eliminate Medicare co-pays for mammograms to make them more affordable for 22 million women. Twenty-two million women – one in five adult women – depend on Medicare for basic health care. These women pay no coinsurance for most cancer screening services covered by Medicare, but they must pay a 20 percent co-pay for mammography services. Hillary Clinton wants to break down this barrier and make mammograms available to all women free of charge. Mammograms generally cost between $50 and $150; co-pays range from $10 to $30. Leading experts, the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Radiology all recommend annual mammograms for women over 40.
Ø Guarantee Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment to Every Low-Income Woman in America. The Medicaid Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program provides enhanced matching funds to states to cover the cost of medical assistance through Medicaid to uninsured or underinsured women screened and diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer. Prior to the creation of the program, many women diagnosed with breast cancer were falling through the cracks. In 21 states, women were only permitted to receive treatment, once diagnosed with the disease, if they had been diagnosed at a CDC-sponsored clinic. Women diagnosed with breast cancer at a clinic down the street from a CDC-funded clinic were being systemically denied care. As President, Hillary will require that states serve everyone who qualifies, and she will provide the funding to enable states to realize this promise. She will work with Congress to accomplish this goal within the first year of her presidency. This will be an interim solution before universal health care is enacted.
Ø Employ Targeted Strategies to Address the Needs of Disproportionately Affected Populations. Breast cancer is a complex disease that affects different populations differently. As President, Hillary will:
o Establish a New Racial Disparities Research Project – African-American women have a higher breast-cancer mortality rate than white women have, and breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Hispanic women. Science is beginning to point to biological differences in tumors that may account for some of these differences. We know that triple negative breast cancer – cancers that don’t have receptors for oestrogen, progesterone, or Her2 and therefore are not responsive to some of the typical breast cancer treatments – is more aggressive and is found more often in African-American women. Hillary is committed to understanding these complexities while also identifying and addressing the disparities in timely access to screening and treatment for underserved populations. Hillary will establish a new Racial Disparities Research Project to coordinate and disseminate cutting edge research on the impact of breast cancer among African-American and Hispanic women and guide the federal research agenda towards closing these gaps in outcomes.
o Create a Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research and Outreach Unit –Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women ages 15 to 54. The disease appears to be more aggressive in younger women, but the major screening tool – a mammogram – isn’t as precise at detecting abnormalities since younger women’s breasts are more dense. Young women diagnosed with breast cancer also struggle with many unique issues, such as the possibility of early menopause, pregnancy after diagnosis, more advanced cancer at diagnosis and slightly higher mortality rates. As President, Hillary will create a Young Women’s Breast Cancer Research and Outreach Unit to help educate young women about the risks of breast cancer, develop more effective screening tools and treatments, and to help research and respond to the unique emotional needs facing young women with breast cancer.
Ø Guarantee access to affordable, quality health care for all. Uninsured adult women are significantly less likely than those with private insurance to receive screenings – like mammograms, clinical breast exams and pap smears – that increase the chance of catching diseases early and decreasing mortality rates. African-American and Hispanic women are at particularly high risk of not receiving these screenings. When caught in the first stages, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent; if the cancer moves into more advanced stages, the survival rate is only 26 percent. Health insurance greatly increases one’s chances of getting screened.
Many women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have health insurance when they are diagnosed. Over time, as they get sicker, they lose their job and with it, their health insurance. Those who have lost their job, have a harder time affording COBRA. And once they’ve transitioned off their former employer’s health insurance, their breast cancer becomes a preexisting condition, and they are often priced out of the individual market. Even getting placed on their spouses’ policy can be challenging once they’ve been diagnosed. In addition, older women sometimes lose their health insurance when their husbands retire, and if they are not yet old enough to enroll in Medicare, they may have no alternative. Many young women suffer from not having health insurance if they leave their job to stay home with their young children, change jobs, or work at an entry level job that may not offer health insurance. Since older women are at a higher risk of getting breast cancer and younger women are often diagnosed at a later stage than their older counterparts, these years of going without coverage can have devastating consequences.
Under Hillary’s American Health Choices Plan, all women will have affordable, quality health insurance regardless of employment, marital status, or pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against people on the basis of pre-existing or genetic conditions, age, gender, occupation or other risk factors. And insurance companies will have to renew plans for enrollees who have paid their premiums on time and want to remain enrolled. The American Health Choices Plan will make prevention and wellness top priorities in the U.S. health care system. All plans in the new Health Choices Menu will have to meet high quality standards that experts deem proven and effective, including preventive care, such as regular physician visits, and screenings, like mammograms.
Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility: This plan will provide $300 million annually in additional funding for research on breast cancer. Hillary will achieve and finance this plan as part of her commitment to doubling NIH and basic research in major federal agencies, as well as her plan to achieve universal healthcare.