Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson on Wednesday approved Kentucky's request to extend Medicaid benefits to uninsured women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer. "This expansion offers help, hope, and health care to women in Kentucky who otherwise would receive only a diagnosis that may sound more like a death sentence," Thompson said.
Under the federal Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act of 2000, states can apply for a waiver allowing them to expand their Medicaid programs to cover women under age 65 who are screened through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and found to have either of the cancers. Federal funds pay for 85% of the extended coverage, with state tax dollars covering the remainder of the cost. Kentucky is the 48th state to receive the waiver; Texas and New Mexico received waivers in October.