Statement from Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO, American Lung Association on the September 25, 2017 version of the 'Graham-Cassidy' Bill:
"Prevention saves lives and reduces healthcare costs. The American Lung Association is deeply troubled that on the eleventh-hour changes were made to the 'Graham-Cassidy' bill that would allow states to make preventive services an optional benefit – jeopardizing coverage for lifesaving lung cancer screening and quit smoking treatments. This is yet another reason the Senate must reject this bill.
"Prevention is essential if we are to improve the health of our nation and reduce healthcare costs. Allowing states to waive Section 2713 and Section 1302(b) provisions and take away the guarantee of preventive services without cost sharing for Americans will simply add to the number of Americans who are facing lung cancer and other tobacco-caused diseases, increasing the death and disease related to tobacco use as well as healthcare costs for our nation.
"Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death and disease in the United States. Smoking is a serious addiction, and helping smokers quit through preventative services is one of the best things someone can do to prevent smoking-caused disease and reduce healthcare costs. Sixteen million Americans live with a tobacco-caused disease, and 480,000 people die each year from a tobacco-caused disease. Tobacco use also causes more than $332 billion in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
"Lung cancer is the nation's leading cancer killer of both men and women. For decades, there was no evidence-based lung cancer screening. Since 2013, individuals who are at high-risk for lung cancer can be screened. If only half of those at high-risk were screened, more than 15,000 lives will be saved.
"The Lung Association has previously stated our strong opposition to the 'Graham-Cassidy' bill – and this new provision makes the bill even worse for patients and our healthcare system. We urge the Senate to reject this bill and instead resume discussions around bipartisan legislation that will improve our nation's healthcare system as well as the lives of the millions of Americans who depend upon quality and affordable healthcare."
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 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.