Nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office Estimates American Health Care Act Will Cause 23 Million Americans to Lose Healthcare Coverage
American Lung Association calls on Senate to support Medicaid coverage and patient protections, save healthcare for 14 million Americans who will lose coverage in 2018 under American Health Care Act
(May 24, 2017) - CHICAGO
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Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to the updated nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score on the American Health Care Act (AHCA):
"Today's announcement by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms that the House-passed American Heath Care Act will strip healthcare away from millions of Americans, including those living with lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. Today's CBO score shows 14 million Americans would lose healthcare in 2018, placing their health and lives at risk. By 2026, that number would climb to 23 million Americans losing coverage, including 14 million of our most vulnerable Americans who rely on Medicaid, many of whom live with a lung disease.
"The CBO makes clear that Medicaid – which provides coverage for 68 million Americans – will be decimated and healthcare will vanish for millions of Americans, especially children and those with lung disease, who need it most. For example, nearly half of the 6 million children who live with asthma are covered by Medicaid and CHIP. These programs are critical sources of coverage for children and adults with asthma who rely on lifesaving maintenance medication just to breathe.
"The CBO also confirmed that by allowing states to opt out of the Essential Health Benefits, patients would be left with inadequate coverage that will not suffice for patients when they need it most.
"Speaking in support of the health of all Americans, the American Lung Association has repeatedly stated that any changes to the current healthcare law must preserve coverage for individuals and families, regardless of preexisting conditions; improve the quality of care; lower costs; and extend coverage to the millions American who remain uninsured. Unfortunately, the American Health Care Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives, will fall dramatically short of this goal, and would fail to protect the health of Americans – which should be the ultimate goal of any healthcare legislation.
"Healthcare should be affordable and accessible for all Americans – recent gains in coverage through Medicaid and the private market should not only maintained, but improved so more Americans have healthcare.
"The Affordable Care Act is not perfect but any changes to current law should prioritize preventing disease and preserving healthcare coverage for all Americans – regardless of income or pre-existing conditions. According to the AHCA as written, pre-existing conditions could include lung cancer survivors and those living with chronic disease such COPD and asthma. The American Lung Association urges the Senate to reject the American Heath Care Act and instead protect the millions of Americans with lung disease, lung cancer and other healthcare needs. The American Lung Association stands ready to work with the U.S. Senate on healthcare legislation that will protect the health of all Americans, including those children and adults living with a lung disease."
Learn more about healthcare coverage and lung health at Lung.org. For media interested in speaking with an expert about lung health or how healthcare impacts those living with lung diseases and chronic lung diseases, contact Allison MacMunn at the American Lung Association at Media@Lung.org or 312-801-7628
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.