Lung Health Funding Secured in Final FY2018 Appropriations Bill; Bipartisan Agreement on Healthcare Stabilization Still Needed to Support Patients with Pre-existing Conditions
(March 21, 2018) - CHICAGO
Statement of American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer in response to the release of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018.
“The Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) Consolidated Appropriations Act is a victory for lung health. Protecting our nation’s lung health is a nonpartisan issue – and we are very pleased that leaders from both sides of the aisle funded programs and biomedical research essential to lung health while also rejecting policy riders that would have weakened key lung health protections and placed the health of patients at risk. The American Lung Association thanks the members of Congress who fought so hard for lung health protections in the Tobacco Control Act and the Clean Air Act against attempts to weaken them by attaching riders to this omnibus.
“The Lung Association was also delighted to see key lung health investments made at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and $3 billion in increased funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), bringing its annual budget to $37 billion. This significant increase in funding will allow our nation’s leading biomedical researchers to continue to make progress towards finding better treatments, methods of early detection and ultimately cures for diseases and conditions that plague Americans, including lung cancer and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, interstitial lung disease and influenza.
“We are pleased to see Congress increase the investment at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $806 million. Disappointingly, overall funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) remained level at $8 billion. Sustained investments in these vital public health agencies are necessary in order to protect our nation’s health.
“While the bill is largely free of policy riders that would weaken protections from tobacco and air pollution, it does contain a rider that would circumvent science and encourage the burning of biomass for electricity. It also contains a rider that would prohibit EPA from enforcing protections against particulate matter, lead, carbon monoxide and mercury from certain incinerators. These riders are especially concerning because children and people with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases are among the most vulnerable to the health impacts of air pollution emitted from incinerators and biomass burning.
“Finally, the American Lung Association is disappointed that a bipartisan agreement that protects patients with pre-existing conditions was not reached in time to be included in the omnibus bill. The Lung Association urges Congress to continue its discussions and work towards passage of bipartisan stabilization legislation that will help healthcare be affordable, adequate and accessible for the 33.6 million Americans living with a lung disease.
“Other funding amounts for key lung health programs include:
• $210 million for the CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health
• $10 million for the CDC’s Climate and Health Program
• $29 million for the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program
• $142 million for CDC’s Tuberculosis Program
• $228 million for EPA’s State and Local Air Quality Management Grants
• $75 million for the EPA’s Diesel Emission Reduction Program
• $8 million for EPA’s Radon Program
• $672 million for FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products”