CHICAGO, IL | March 7, 2017
Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to the introduction of the American Health Care Act in the House of Representatives:
"The American Lung Association strongly supports measures to prevent lung disease, reduce the incidence and exacerbation of lung disease, improve diagnosis and treatment for those living with lung disease, and increase patient access to appropriate health care. As it is currently drafted, the American Health Care Act does not meet these criteria.
"The 32 million Americans living with lung disease need quality and affordable health care. While we were pleased to see that some important patient protections were incorporated into the American Health Care Act, low-income Americans living with lung disease would have no guarantees they would continue to have quality and affordable health care if this legislation were to become law. The Lung Association opposes significant cost-shifting to states and per-capita Medicaid caps. Both are likely to lead to fewer people with lung disease having quality and affordable coverage.
"Preventing lung disease is a fundamental part of the American Lung Association's mission. Eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund would cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) budget by 12 percent – eliminating critical public health funding that works to prevent lung diseases, including those caused by smoking. The Lung Association also strongly opposes provisions that will repeal preventive services for the Medicaid Expansion population starting in 2019. Americans who meet the eligibility for Medicaid Expansion desperately need preventive services to improve their health. This population smokes at higher rates and is more likely to be at high risk for developing lung cancer. They need vital services including lung cancer screening for those considered at high risk to reduce their risk of dying from lung cancer, as well as tobacco cessation. Prevention must remain at the heart of any proposal aimed at improving the health of Americans.
"The Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect. However, any changes to current law should maintain an emphasis on preventing disease, as well as preserve coverage for Americans who currently have healthcare, extend coverage to those who remain uninsured, and lower costs and improve quality for all. The American Lung Association looks forward to working with Congress on healthcare legislation.”
For media interested in speaking with an expert about health care and lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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