will be guaranteed access to affordable prescription drug coverage under
Medicare. In December 2003, President Bush signed into law legislation
that will make Medicare prescription drug coverage available to 40 million
seniors and people with disabilities. The new benefit will become available
on January 1, 2006. Beginning in June 2004, beneficiaries will have
access to Medicare-approved prescription drug discount cards, which
will save them 10 -- 25 percent off the retail price of most prescription
drugs. Low-income beneficiaries also will receive $600 to help them
purchase their medicines.
will have more choices and better benefits under a strengthened and
improved Medicare program. In addition to helping seniors afford
their prescriptions, the legislation the President signed enhances basic
Medicare coverage by providing better preventive care and disease management
services. Beginning in 2006, seniors also will get the same kinds of
choices the Members of Congress and federal employees have to select
the coverage that is best for them, including the choice of keeping
their Medicare coverage just the way it is.
low-income Americans made eligible for coverage. Since January 2001,
the Department of Health and Human Services has helped states extend
coverage to an estimated 2.6 million low-income Americans eligible under
Medicaid and the State Child Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) by granting
states waivers and approving state plan amendments.
populations who live in medically underserved areas have gained greater
access to medical services. To fulfill a commitment to create 1,200
new and expanded health center sites to serve an additional 6.1 million
people by 2006, the President has dramatically increased funding to
commit health centers to help individuals that live in underserved and
rural areas, including many people that are uninsured, low income individuals,
migrant farm workers, homeless individuals, and children. As part of
the Medicare act, the President also signed into law a provision that
authorizes $1 billion to compensate hospitals for the cost of providing
emergency medical care to undocumented aliens.
of state high-risk pools will make health insurance coverage more affordable
to individuals with serious medical conditions. Many Americans with
pre-existing medical conditions have difficulty finding insurance coverage.
Others have policies available, but can't afford the premiums. High
risk pools in 30 states make coverage available and more affordable
to these individuals. In December 2002, President Bush signed into law
legislation that will make $100 million available to states to establish
and support high-risk pools. Some $40 million in federal funds will
be awarded to states this year to help subsidize these pools, with the
first set of grants expected to be issued by HHS later this month.
budget of the National Institutes of Health will lead to better health
care for all Americans. President Bush fulfilled a commitment by
completing the historic doubling of the NIH budget by 2003, dramatically
increasing medical research funded by NIH to speed cures and treatments
for the diseases that plague our nation and the world.
for biodefense preparedness is strengthening our homeland security and
improving public health surveillance. The President has provided
nearly $4.5 billion to states, local governments and hospitals for a
bioterrorist attack. Enhancements to public health surveillance improve
our capacity in the area of detecting and responding to all human illnesses
and outbreaks of disease.