The Clinton Presidency:|
Improving the Nation's Health Care
From the first days of his Administration, President Clinton has worked
to expand access to affordable, quality health care for all Americans.
The President has strengthened the Medicare program, increased access
and improved the quality of our nation's health care system. President
Clinton's balanced approach to increasing access to quality health care
has paid off for America, with the number of uninsured Americans
declining for the first time in 12 years in 1999.
Strengthening and Modernizing Medicare
|THEN:|| Medicare expected to run out of money in 1999.|
Eight years ago, the Medicare Trust Fund was expected to run
out of money in 1999. Health care fraud was contributing to rising
costs and a shaky financial future for the Medicare program. The
President and Vice President succeeded in passing measures to
strengthen and modernize Medicare, crack down on fraud, and protect
the benefits of today's beneficiaries.
|NOW:|| Medicare trust fund extended until 2025 with more options for
patient choice and preventive care.|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore enacted the most
comprehensive Medicare reforms in history. They insisted on
provisions in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to protect, modernize
and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, while offering new
options for patient choice and preventive care. The Balanced
Budget Act also provided an array of new weapons in our fight to
keep scam artists and fly-by-night health care out of Medicare and
Medicaid. President Clinton has assigned more federal prosecutors
and FBI agents to fight health care fraud than ever before. The
Clinton-Gore Administration's work has extended the life of the
Medicare Trust Fund until 2025.
Reforming the Insurance Market
|THEN:|| Families lose coverage because of preexisting conditions and
lack of portability|
In 1992, there were no Federal protections to ensure the
portability of health benefits for workers in between jobs or to
prevent discrimination based on health status. Every year, an
estimated 25 million Americans had breaks in their health care
coverage because they changed jobs, or were self employed, or had
preexisting conditions that could lead an insurance company to deny
coverage. A technological revolution presented new challenges in
safeguarding the privacy of Americans' medical records.
|NOW:|| Insurance market reforms help working families keep their
President Clinton and Vice President Gore took on these new
challenges and enacted critical reforms to the insurance market
that have helped millions of Americans keep their health insurance.
- In 1996 President Clinton and Vice President Gore enacted the
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which
helps people keep health insurance when they change jobs,
guarantees renewability of coverage, and ensures access to
health insurance for small businesses.
- The President enacted mental health parity provisions to help
eliminate discrimination against Americans with mental
illnesses, and instituted new protections for mothers and
their newborns and women recovering from mastectomies.
- President Clinton also issued landmark Federal regulations
protecting the privacy of electronic medical records and
issued an executive memorandum preventing genetic
discrimination in Federal hiring and promotion actions.
- President Clinton directed the federal government to ensure
that the important new benefits and rights that health care
consumers receive under the Administration's proposed
Patients Bill of Rights are guaranteed to federal employees,
veterans, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and
individuals covered by the Indian Health Service and the
Military Health System, including choice of providers and
plans, access to emergency services, participation in
treatment decisions, confidentiality of health information
and a fair complaint and appeals process.
Executive Action Guarantees Medical Privacy
"The Administration has made significant headway where Congress could
not [on medical privacy] to restore public trust and confidence in our
nation's health care system."
- Janlori Goldman, October 29, 1999. Janlori Goldman, considered to be
one of the leading medical privacy experts nationwide, directs the
Health Privacy Project at Georgetown University's Institute for Health
Care Research and Policy. The Project is dedicated to ensuring that
people's privacy is safeguarded in the health care environment.
Improving and Expanding Health Insurance Coverage
|THEN:|| Barriers to coverage result in uninsured children, people with
disabilities and self-employed workers.|
The number of uninsured -- especially uninsured children --
was growing. People with disabilities who wanted to work could not
for fear of losing their health insurance, and young people leaving
foster care could not retain the critical health insurance they
needed to make a healthy start as adults. Unlike many other
American workers, self-employed Americans received absolutely no
tax assistance in purchasing health care insurance.
|NOW:|| Barriers to health coverage removed for millions of Americans.|
President Clinton came into office determined to expand access
to health care for all Americans. His work has led to the first
decrease in the number of uninsured Americans in at least twelve
- President Clinton and Vice President Gore enacted the largest
investment in health care for children since 1965, providing
health care for up to five million children in working
families with the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
They also led aggressive outreach efforts to enroll eligible
- President Clinton enacted landmark legislation providing new
health insurance opportunities for working people with
disabilities and enacted new legislation to help young people
leaving foster care keep their health insurance, as well as
legislation to assure that self-employed Americans receive
the same tax benefits as workers who have job-based health
- The Clinton-Gore Administration has improved quality and
access of long term care. The Clinton Administration has made
ensuring the health and safety of nursing home residents a
top priority and has issued the toughest nursing home
regulations in the history of the Medicare and Medicaid
programs, requiring states to crack down on nursing homes
that repeatedly violate health and safety requirements and
changing the inspection process to increase the focus on
preventing bedsores, malnutrition and resident abuse. They
also enacted legislation simplifying state options to expand
eligibility and design community based long term care
programs, allowing seniors and people with disabilities to
receive care in their homes rather than in institutional
settings. And the Administration enacted legislation
allowing the Federal government to serve as a model employer
by offering quality private long-term care insurance to
- In October 2000, President Clinton enacted the Breast and
Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act, which provides
new treatment options to low-income, uninsured women with
breast and cervical cancer who are diagnosed through
federally sponsored screening programs.
Children's Health Insurance Program Provides Security for Families
"When we found the Healthy Families program, it was like a miracle. Now
my kids have a regular doctor who knows our family. I don't have to
worry about taking them in for their school physicals or for their
vaccinations. They can run around and climb on things and jump off
things and the only thing I really need to worry about is if they get
their clothes dirty. Because of the Healthy Families program, my
husband and I can make sure that our kids grow up healthy."
- Evelyn Alvarado, California, September 7, 1999. Evelyn Alvarado,
enrolled her children in California's S-CHIP program (Healthy Families)
in June 1999. Before they enrolled in Healthy Families, Evelyn's
children -- Daniel (aged 13), Mary (aged 11), and Samuel (aged 8) --
were uninsured for eight years and only saw the doctor in the case of
Ensuring that All Americans Have Access to Cancer Prevention and
The National Breast Cancer Coalition applauds this Administration for
its dedication and commitment to furthering substantive breast cancer
policies that move us closer to eradicating this disease. From
enhancing access to quality clinical trials, to enacting an optional
Medicaid bill that would ensure treatment for low-income women diagnosed
with breast and cervical cancer through federal programs -- the Clinton
Administration leaves a legacy of unprecedented progress for women with
breast cancer, their families and friends.
- Fran Visco, President, National Breast Cancer Coalition
Improving Public Health
|THEN:|| Low child immunization rates, neglected public health and
In 1992, America's public health delivery system was badly in
need of repair: half of two year olds did not receive their
immunizations, infant mortality rates were too high, and funding
for biomedical research was inadequate.
|NOW:|| Record child immunization rates, increased research funding,
improved public health|
President Clinton and Vice President Gore have improved our
public health system and made investments that have given us a
healthier America. They have increased child immunizations,
implemented new food safety protections, increased research funding
and became the first Administration to take on the tobacco industry
to reduce teen smoking.
- President Clinton and Vice President Gore raised childhood
immunization rates to record levels by investing in the
Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1993. More than 90
percent of America's toddlers received the most critical
doses of each of the routinely recommended vaccines in 1996,
1997, and again in 1998. The infant mortality is at an
all-time low, and has declined by 15.2 percent since 1992.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration improved the safety of food
for all Americans by seeking substantial funding for such
initiatives as a nationwide early-warning system for
foodborne illness, increased inspections, and the expansion
of food-safety research, risk assessment and education. The
Administration has also put into place improved science-based
standards for meat, poultry, and seafood products and enacted
strict new standards for pesticide residues in food,
including the first pesticide standards aimed specifically at
- President Clinton and Vice President Gore have nearly doubled
funding for the National Institutes of Health, increasing our
investment in NIH by $10 billion since 1993, and they have
strongly supported the efforts of the National Human Genome
Research Institute to map the entire human genome, which will
revolutionize health care in the future.
- The Clinton-Gore Administration took on the tobacco industry
by developing the first-ever plan to protect our children
from tobacco, and calling on Congress to affirm the FDA's
authority to implement this plan. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has also made our nation's health a priority
by establishing smoke-free federal workplaces, raising the
federal tobacco tax, and by giving the American people their
day in court against the tobacco manufacturers who engaged in
decades of deception about the dangers of tobacco.
Raising Immunization Rates to an All-Time High
Ensures a Healthy Future for All Children
"President Clinton and those in his administration have made
immunizations a priority since day one. -- By launching the Children's
Vaccine Initiative seven years ago, the Clinton Administration has
increased vaccination rates to an all-time high. As a result, many
infants and children will not suffer from such preventable diseases as
polio and measles."
- Joe M. Sanders, Jr., M.D., Executive Director, American Academy of
Improving the Nation's Health Care
- Strengthened the Medicare Trust Fund: Medicare is in the soundest
shape since 1975, with the life of the Trust Fund extended until
2025. In 1992, Medicare was expected to run out of money in 1999.
- Number of Uninsured Declines: From 1998 to 1999, the number of
Americans with health insurance rose by 1.7 million -- two-thirds
of them children. This is the first decline in the number of
uninsured in at least 12 years.
- More Children Have Health Insurance: 2.5 million additional
children have access to health care because they have enrolled in
the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
- Immunizations at All-Time High: Childhood immunization rates are at
an all-time high with more than 90 percent of America's toddlers
receiving the most critical doses of each of the routinely
recommended vaccines in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
- Infant Mortality at All-Time Low: Infant mortality has declined by
15.2 percent since 1992.
- Cancer Deaths Have Stopped Rising: For the first time, cancer death
rates have stopped rising, despite a growing and aging population.
- New AIDS Infections Declined: For the first time in the history of
the AIDS epidemic, new AIDS infections declined, and the latest
data available indicates a decrease in HIV/AIDS mortality of 42
- Improved Food Safety: From 1997 to 1999, illness from the most
common foodborne pathogens declined by 20 percent -- which means
nearly a million fewer Americans are suffering from foodborne
illnesses each year. In addition, infections from E. coli O157:H7
are down 22 percent due to improved sanitation in slaughter and
processing plants; and infections from Salmonella enteritidis are
down 50 percent due, in part, to Administration efforts to decrease
contamination in eggs.
- Lowest Teen Birth Rate on Record: The teen birth rate is the lowest
ever recorded, falling in each year of the Clinton-Gore
Administration, for an overall decline of 18 percent from 1992 to
1999. The teen pregnancy rate is also at a record low.
- Extended Protections to People in HMOs: Protections included in the
Patients' Bill of Rights have been extended to 85 million people
covered by Federal health plans, and Medicare and Medicaid.
- Extended Insurance Coverage of Contraceptives: Insurance coverage
of contraceptives has been extended to approximately 1.2 million
women of childbearing age covered by federal health plans.
- Record High Levels of Biomedical Research: NIH supports the highest
levels of research ever on nearly all types of disease and health
conditions, making new breakthroughs possible in vaccine
development and use, the treatment of chronic disease, and
prevention and treatment of diseases such as diabetes,
osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and neurological diseases like
Alzheimers and Parkinsons.