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Nevada Lung Cancer Survivor Travels to Capitol Hill, Asks Senators to Vote No on Healthcare Bill

(June 27, 2017) -

Today, Lysa Buonanno of Henderson, Nevada, traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) to ask them to protect healthcare for her and the hundreds of thousands of other lung cancer survivors nationwide. Buonanno joined more than 60 other patients from across the country, who went to Capitol Hill today to voice their opposition to the Senate’s Health Care Act. Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office announced that the Senate healthcare bill will result in 22 million Americans losing their healthcare by 2026.

Buonanno was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in 2011, when she was just 40 years old. At the time, she had just finished college and did not have insurance, so a social worker signed her up for Medicaid, which she was on for two years until she qualified for disability.

“I know how important healthcare is for me and my family,” Buonanno said. “Because I had healthcare coverage and access to breakthrough treatments, I am now able to advocate for other lung cancer patients for whom healthcare is a matter of life or death.”

At a press conference earlier today convened by the American Lung Association and its health partners, Buonanno advocated for the quality and affordable healthcare alongside Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), Jon Tester (D-MT) and other patients. She also met with both Nevada senators and specifically urged Heller, whose vote is one of a handful critical in defeating the Senate bill and who said Friday he intends to oppose it, to help defeat the bill.

“I always say I’m still here today because of research, but the fact is, without insurance coverage, all the research in the world couldn’t extend my life,” Buonanno said. "I really appreciate Senator Heller saying that he will vote no on the Senate’s healthcare bill. We are counting on him to stand up for lung cancer patients across the nation and make sure this does not pass.”

More than 32 million Americans, including 700,000 in Nevada, are living with a lung disease, such as lung cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For each of them, healthcare is essential to their continued health and well-being. The American Lung Association and its partners have called upon Congress to only make changes to our healthcare system that will put patients first and improve the healthcare coverage Americans have come to depend on under the current law.

“I’m here today to make sure Senator Heller and other Senators hear how Medicaid is literally a matter of life and death for millions of Americans," Buonanno said. “I need Senator Heller to fight for me and protect our nation’s healthcare system. This bill will hurt millions in our country and we are asking Senator Heller to stay firm and vote no.” 

The American Lung Association has urged the Senate to start from scratch and come up with a bill that puts patients ahead of politics and improves the quality and affordability of the healthcare coverage for all Americans. The Lung Association is deeply disappointed that the Senate bill has been drafted in secrecy and without input from patients and medical organizations.


About the American Lung Association in Nevada 

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 the newly redesigned website:

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