Wider mammography access urged


WASHINGTON -- Courting women's support for health care reform, President Clinton called on state governments, insurance companies, medical facilities and businesses to adopt policies that widen access to appropriate and affordable mammography. He also pledged additional government support for breast cancer research.

"These resources can save the lives of countless women," the president said during an East Room ceremony as he signed a proclamation declaring today National Mammography Day.

A September draft of the health care plan would provide free mammograms only to women 50 and older -- and only at two-year intervals. But the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommend mammograms for women after 40 either annually or every other year, with yearly mammograms after 50.

But administration officials have said they are flexible on the final details. And as White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers said at yesterday's briefing, the public can "expect to see some changes" regarding mammography coverage in the final health care proposals, which are expected to be sent to Congress in the form of detailed legislation next week.

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