People with Lung Disease Converge on Capitol Hill to Push for Critical Healthcare Reforms and Public Health Investment

Inaugural American Lung Association Respiratory Advocacy Day unites patients in urgent call for better lung health policies, including reforming supplemental oxygen in Medicare

Across the United States, more than 34 million people are living with lung disease including 12.5 million Americans with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), almost 220,000 Americans with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), 25.3 million Americans (including 4.2 million children) with asthma and more than 1.5 million Americans who use supplemental oxygen. 

On September 21, patient advocates are meeting with their members of Congress on critical public health and healthcare priorities for the American Lung Association’s first-ever Respiratory Advocacy Day. 

“Recent events—including the COVID-19 pandemic and smoke from wildfires—have highlighted the critical needs of people living with a chronic lung disease,” said Harold Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “It is crucial that people living with lung disease have access to affordable, accessible and adequate healthcare and access to the appropriate type and modality of supplemental oxygen. In addition, they need robust nationwide public health programs, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s National Asthma Control Program and the Chronic Disease Education and Awareness Program.”

On September 21, dozens of people who live with lung disease from across the country will be meeting with their members of Congress in Washington, D.C. to ask them to:

  • Support legislation to reform supplemental oxygen in Medicare
  • Cosponsor the Family Asthma Act
  • Advocate for robust, predictable and sustained investments in CDC and NIH to improve our nation’s lung health

“I’m incredibly honored to represent the COPD community and the American Lung Association at the first Respiratory Advocacy Day,” said Jean Rommes, a member of the COPD Patient Advisory group. “I was officially diagnosed with COPD in 2000 but suspect that I have had it since 1985 because of years of shortness of breath and difficulty climbing stairs. I now require liquid oxygen, and I’m worried about it no longer being available. Congress must act to ensure that everyone who needs supplemental oxygen has the right kind of oxygen, based on their health needs.”

In addition, Respiratory Advocacy Day will create an opportunity for people living with asthma, COPD and other lung diseases to share their stories and experiences with thought leaders from across the lung disease community and provide a platform for lung disease patients to share their powerful voices with policy makers.

American Lung Association Respiratory Advocacy Day was developed to complement and add to the continued success of LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day. As a part of LUNG FORCE Advocacy Day, LUNG FORCE Heroes have succeeded in helping increase NIH lung cancer research funding by over 115%. Since 2016, more than 50 new therapies have been approved by the FDA to treat lung cancer—giving more hope to those impacted by this disease. In 2022, Heroes successfully urged Congress to extend funding for tax credits so more than three million Americans were able to keep affordable healthcare coverage through the federal and state marketplaces.

Learn more about Respiratory Advocacy Day and see how you can get involved at Lung.org/RAD.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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