States Allowed To Avoid Covering Breast, Cervical Cancer Treatments For Some Uninsured Women

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A legal loophole in the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Preventionand Treatment Act allows states to not cover some uninsured womendiagnosed with breast or cervical cancer in their Medicaid programs,the Wall Street Journal reports. Under the law, enactedin 2000, uninsured women younger than age 65 diagnosed with breast orcervical cancer can have their treatments covered by Medicaid, even ifthey are not otherwise eligible for coverage.

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According to the Journal,the law allows states to choose to cover only women diagnosed atclinics that receive funding from a federal cancer-detection program.Twenty-one states do not cover treatment costs for women diagnosed atfacilities that do not participate in the federal cancer-detectionprogram, and Texas only began providing coverage for women diagnosed at any health provider on Sept. 1. According to the Journal,"thousands" of women annually "get caught" in the loophole, which "canturn the quest for care into a daunting obstacle course."

The Journal profiled the search for coverage of Shirley Loewe, who in June 2003 was diagnosed with breast cancer at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview, Texas (Carreyrou, Wall Street Journal, 9/13).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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