CARD’s Response to Senator Daines’ Letter to Congress Leadership

The Center for Asbestos Related Disease is very grateful for Senator Daines taking the initiative to send a letter to Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell clarifying that although he looks forward to working with Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare he advocates that the Libby asbestos previsions be preserved because this is unrelated to the heart of the legislation that has necessitated the proposed reforms.

Dr. Black states “It is greatly appreciated that Senator Daines took the initiative to stand up to protect the critical programs of the Libby provision. Based on the current trends of new patients and diagnosis rates, it is clear that these programs will be important for many years into the future.” (Asbestos related disease have a latency period where they present up to 40 year after initial exposure.)

  1. The Libby provisions provide asbestos health and lung cancer screening program for the thousands of community members who were exposed to the amphibole asbestos. 4,500 individual have been screened through the ACA legislation, and 2025 have been diagnosed with an asbestos related pulmonary disease.

  2. The Libby provision allows people to get access to healthcare through Medicare if they are diagnosed with an asbestos related disease. They can manage their lung disease and any other serious medical conditions they may have. Since the ACA was implemented 1,846 individuals under the age of 65 and who are mostly not fully disabled by social security criteria have Medicare because of their asbestos related disease diagnosis.  The screening has also identified several lung cancers and other types of cancer that might not have been caught as early which provides an opportunity for early treatment and a better prognosis.

  3. The Medicare Pilot Program for Asbestos Related Diseases has been important for individuals diagnosed with an asbestos related disease in accomplishing everyday tasks that they are unable to do because of health issues.  This could be things like helping with shoveling snow, cooking meals, going to the grocery or even personal care activities.  1,301 people have the Medicare Pilot program (all ages under 65 and over) to assist with activities of daily living that are difficult to accomplish because of their health status. Sometimes this program is the difference between staying at home and having to move into a skilled nursing facility (aka nursing home).