Statement of American Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer in response to Congressional Budget Office score on American Health Care Act.
"The American Lung Association has stated that one of our key criteria for evaluating healthcare reform proposals is that Americans who currently have healthcare must keep it and coverage must be extended to those who remain uninsured. The Congressional Budget Office score shows that 14 million of Americans – many of whom are low-income – will lose their healthcare coverage in 2018 if the American Health Care Act is enacted. CBO projects that number will increase to 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026. This further demonstrates that the American Health Care Act does not meet the American Lung Association’s key criteria that support the health of those living with lung disease.
"In addition, The Commonwealth Fund estimates that 30 million Americans could be subjected to the premium surcharge, which would allow a plan to charge patients an additional 30 percent surcharge if there are any gaps in coverage within the previous year. Low-income Americans often have gaps in care when they are in between jobs or unable to work because of their illness. This penalty adds additional costs to those who can least afford it, making healthcare unaffordable for them, placing their lives at risk.
"While the Affordable Care Act is by no means perfect, any changes to current law should support the health of all Americans – regardless of income – and maintain an emphasis on preventing disease, as well as preserving healthcare coverage for Americans. The American Lung Association remains committed to working with Congress on healthcare legislation that improves lung health and prevents lung disease."
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, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.