The original letter can be found here.
February 2, 2017
Dear Senators and Representatives:
Our organizations write to ask for your support for ensuring access to healthcare for the more than tens of millions of Americans living with or at risk for lung cancer. As Congress moves forward with its discussions regarding healthcare, we ask that you recognize those impacted by lung cancer need access to quality and affordable healthcare.
Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer death of women and men, killing more than 158,000 Americans each year. In 2016, an estimated 224,000 Americans were diagnosed with lung cancer, representing about 13 percent of all cancer diagnoses. The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 55 percent for people whose cancer is detected when the disease is localized in the lungs; however, only 16 percent of lung cancer cases are diagnosed at this early stage. For lung cancer that has already spread, the five-year survival rate is only 4 percent.
To help improve these often grim statistics, in the last two years, the Food and Drug Administration has approved eight new drug therapies for the treatment of lung cancer – giving new hope to patients and their families. Many lung cancer patients are alive today because of key healthcare protections currently in effect that eliminated pre-existing condition prohibitions, lifetime and annual benefit limits, coverage rescissions and access to preventive services, including lung cancer screening for individuals at high risk and smoking cessation treatments. Together these protections ensure lung cancer patients have access to new break through treatments and early detection. Our organizations oppose attempts to weaken or eliminate any of them.
A stable and affordable insurance marketplace is vital to lung cancer patients and their families. Instability in the marketplace because of the unknown will jeopardize affordability and access, especially in the individual marketplace. We also recognize that proposals that only guarantee health insurance for those who are able to retain continuous coverage and that may also impose waiting periods on those who do not retain such coverage would place barriers to access. Given the disabling impact cancer has on a person’s life and ability to work, these provisions could put patients with lung cancer at risk for losing their care.
We are committed to working with you to ensure that our nation’s healthcare system will protect individuals with lung cancer and ensure they have access to quality and affordable healthcare.
American Lung Association
Lung Cancer Alliance
Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute
Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation
Cancer Support Community
Cancer Survivors Against Radon, Inc. (CanSAR)
Caring Ambassadors Program, Inc.
Citizens for Radioactive Radon Reduction, Inc.
Dusty Joy Foundation (LiveLung)
Free ME from Lung Cancer
Free to Breathe
Lung Cancer Circle of Hope
Lung Cancer Initiative
Lung Cancer Research Council
Lung Cancer Research Foundation
Respiratory Health Association
Rexanna's Foundation for Fighting Lung Cancer
Upstage Lung Cancer