Letter from Lung Cancer Groups to Congress Regarding Healthcare Coverage

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.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

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)

CancerCare

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

LUNGevity Foundation

Respiratory Health Association

Rexanna's Foundation for Fighting Lung Cancer

Upstage Lung Cancer



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