“There are over twelve million people diagnosed with COPD in the USA, and an estimated twelve million more with the disease that are undiagnosed,” said Breathe California’s CEO Tanya Stevenson. “This is a major health problem for our country, yet we have no comprehensive intervention plan.”
COPD is the third leading cause of death in the country and is quickly rising. Current treatments manage symptoms, but cannot undo lung damage or heal tissue. More research is needed to find better treatment options and a cure.
COPD needs to be addressed at a federal level to increase awareness of the disease and promote government policies to improve the lives of people living with COPD. We need to utilize our public health resources to effectively address this growing health problem.
In June 2014, for the fifth year in a row, Breathe California staff and board members joined the national coalition of advocates in Washington, D.C., for United For Lung Health Advocacy Day (left), which brings together lung health advocates with lawmakers who can enact change. We effectively worked together to improve the lives of people living with COPD in several ways:
- Legislators were urged to join the U.S. Congressional COPD Caucus, a bipartisan group working together to actively push for COPD awareness and promote government policies to improve the lives of people living with COPD. We encourage all members of Congress to join the caucus to give voice to their constituents living with the disease.
- S. 2115: America Cures Act / H. R. 4384: America Heals Act – This legislation creates a trust fund to support a mandatory funding stream for research. It is crucial that funding be increased so that it can continue to focus on prevention, treatment and cures for lung disease. Research identifies new disease management strategies and improves prevention and diagnosis methods, cutting the cost of hospitalization and treatment for lung disease.
- H.R. 460: Patient Access to Treatment Act of 2013 – This bill limits cost-sharing requirements in the specialty drug tier to a similar dollar amount applicable to drugs in non-preferred brand tier.
- H.R. 1239: Accessing Medicare Therapies Act – This bill assists Medicare Part D beneficiaries access to needed treatments and therapies by allowing non-profit patient assistance organizations to provide donated therapies. Donated products will then count towards a patient’s out of pocket expense, ensuring access to patients.