Voters in Three States Strongly Support Expanding Medicaid to Improve Quality and Affordable Healthcare for Health of Hundreds of Thousands

Tobacco Industry Pours in Tens of Millions of Dollars to Defeat Continuation of Medicaid Expansion in Montana

Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, in response to Medicaid expansion ballot measures in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah that were strongly supported by the American Lung Association:

“Healthcare was on the ballot in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah and it won. The American Lung Association applauds the voters in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah who went to the voting booth and voted in favor of expanding quality and affordable healthcare for hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans.

The impact this will have on individuals in Idaho, Nebraska and Utah, who have or are at risk for lung disease cannot be understated. Eligible individuals with asthma, COPD and lung cancer will no longer have to choose between their treatments and food or housing. Residents who will now qualify for coverage and who are at high risk for lung cancer will soon be able to be screened for lung cancer without cost-sharing. Smokers who previously were uninsured or underinsured will now be able to see a healthcare provider to get the help they need to finally quit for good. The American Lung Association stands ready to work with these states to ensure that implementation goes smoothly and that no barriers are put in place that could limit the benefits of expansion in these states.

“Unfortunately, after a more than $17 million spending onslaught from the tobacco companies, voters in Montana defeated an initiative that would have continued the state’s Medicaid expansion program for 100,000 Montanans.  There is profound irony in Big Tobacco companies addicting and sickening Americans, and then taking away healthcare from Montanans – including quit smoking treatments and treatment for tobacco-caused illnesses, such as lung cancer and COPD.  The Lung Association urges the Montana legislature to act quickly to ensure Montana’s Medicaid Expansion program continues and no one has gaps in coverage.

“During the 2018 election there has been a tremendous amount of discussion on healthcare coverage and protecting patients with pre-existing conditions. The American Lung Association stands ready to work with decision makers at the federal, state and local levels to improve access to affordable, accessible and adequate health insurance.”

For media interested in speaking with an expert about healthcare coverage issues, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628.

For more information, contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

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