Medical Budget Spending Essay, Research Paper
Providing Cancer Clinical Trials for Medicare Beneficiaries
Less than three percent of cancer patients participate in clinical
trials of new therapies. Many scientists believe that higher
participation could lead to the faster development of therapies for more
of those in need.
Moreover, the elderly, who are most likely to get cancer, often
cannot participate in such trials because Medicare does not pay for such
treatments until they are established as standard therapies. Americans
over 65 make up half of all cancer patients, and are 10 times more
likely to get cancer than younger Americans.
The budget would give more Americans access to these cutting-edge
treatments and encourage higher participation in clinical trials by
establishing a three-year, $750 million demonstration program,
specifically for Medicare beneficiaries, to cover the patient care costs
for those who participate in certain federally-sponsored cancer clinical
trials. Although the Health Care Financing Administration (which
administers Medicare) would run the demonstration, it would be funded by
specified receipts from national tobacco legislation and, thus, would
not draw upon Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) or Supplementary
Medical Insurance (SMI) trust funds. The proposal includes an evaluation
after three years to consider whether to expand the demonstration.
Aid for the territories: The budget proposes $153 million in
increased funding under CHIP for Puerto Rico and the other
four territories, fulfilling the President’s promise to
provide more equitable funding for children’s health care in
the insular areas.
Health insurance for legal immigrant children: The budget
would give States the option to provide health coverage to
legal immigrant children under Medicaid and CHIP. Currently,
States can provide health coverage to legal immigrant children
who entered the country before the 1996 welfare reform law was
enacted. But immigrant children who entered after the law was
enacted cannot get benefits for five years. Under this
proposal, States could provide coverage to immigrant children
through Medicaid or through their current CHIP allotment.
Increasing Biomedical Research: Progress in biomedical research has
ensured that many diseases that Americans faced a generation ago can now
be prevented or treated. Smallpox has been eradicated from the world and
polio is gone from the Western Hemisphere. Surgical procedures, such as
organ transplants or cardiac pacemakers, can restore normal lives for
those who once had few treatment options.
The scientific community is now poised to make even more advances
that, with sufficient investment, could dramatically alter and improve
the way we treat diseases. Several new technologies in medical research
show great promise. Specifically, important strides in imaging
technologies make it possible to visualize living cells and entire
organs, providing new insights into the structure of disease; computer-
based systems give scientists new tools to rapidly analyze vast amounts
of new data; and the scientific community stands on the cusp of a host
of breakthroughs in genetics that will enable scientists to map the
entire human genome and revolutionize how we understand, treat, and
prevent some of our most devastating diseases.
The budget proposes an unprecedented commitment in biomedical
research that will lay the foundation for new innovations to improve
health and prevent disease. It invests $1.15 billion in the National
Institutes of Health (NIH)–the largest increase in history. Moreover,
to ensure that the Nation continues to make important investments in
biomedical research, the budget proposes–for the first time ever–
sustained increases in the NIH over five years. By the year 2003,
funding for biomedical research will increase to over $20 billion, or by nearly half.