American Lung Association Decries Raid of Prevention Fund Dollars

Statement of the American Lung Association

(February 17, 2012)

The American Lung Association is deeply disappointed by Congress’ decision to divert $6.25 billion from the Prevention Fund to pay for a Medicare shortfall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases account for 75 percent of all health care costs. Investments must be made to prevent chronic disease, and the Prevention Fund effectively helps Americans across the country make healthier choices and take responsibility for their own health and the health of their families. Because of the Fund, states and communities are able to help more people quit smoking through cessation programs and improve lung health by preventing and treating lung diseases, including COPD, lung cancer, and asthma. It also enables states and communities to monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as influenza, and enhance prevention services in low-income and underserved communities.

A recent study found that Washington State saved $5 for every $1 invested in comprehensive tobacco programs from 2000-2009. Another study published in January and conducted by economists at George Washington University found that for every $1 invested in Massachusetts’ comprehensive Medicaid quit smoking program saved $3 – in just over one year. These studies demonstrate how important it is to make these investments in prevention – particularly in regard to tobacco control. Tobacco-related diseases are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States, killing over 443,000 Americans each year. Smoking alone costs the U.S. economy $193 billion dollars every year, $96 billion in direct health care costs and $97 billion in lost productivity.

The American Lung Association strongly supports the preservation of the Prevention Fund and condemns any efforts to divert the funds for purposes other than what it was originally intended in the Affordable Care Act. It is imperative that the remaining Prevention Fund dollars be preserved so communities can work to prevent and reduce diseases and reduce health care costs.

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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: www.Lung.org.