The American Lung Association continues our nationwide advocacy efforts to create and defend policies and laws that protect our health. Even in a challenging environment, we carry on efforts to support healthy air and healthy lungs.
Protecting quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans, especially the more than 35 million with lung disease, was a top priority. We helped successfully ward off the Graham-Cassidy Bill, one of the many attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This bill would have dismantled many protections of the ACA, including screening for lung cancer and quit smoking treatment, and allowed insurance companies to charge more or deny coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions, like COPD. We also achieved success in stopping “waivers” that would have reduced coverage in many states for patients on Medicaid.
EPA’s proposed rule "Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science" would restrict the scientific research the Agency uses to protect public health. The Lung Association was a leader in the effort to oppose this “censoring science” rule through a number of letters and petitions to the EPA Administrator from 66 national, state, and local health organizations, 1,309 health professionals and 5,931 individuals.
Healthy air and the Clean Air Act were again under attack on many fronts. We worked throughout the year to protect pollution-reducing cleaner cars standards. Thanks to your help, we reached our goal of getting more than 4,500 signatures on our letter for parents and grandparents to support the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to represent the 4,500 lives the CPP would save every year once fully implemented. We submitted the letter to EPA, along with our Health Professionals Declaration on Climate Change that was signed by more than 1,600 health professionals.
The rule giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over all tobacco products took effect in 2016, but the agency has been unacceptably slow in using that power to regulate many tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes and cigars. Because tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in America, we filed suit to force the FDA to use its authority to protect our children from these harmful, unregulated products.
We also played a leadership role in helping the Department of Housing and Urban Development create and enact its new rule making federally funded housing smokefree, including helping residents quit smoking.