Right now the U.S. Congress is in the midst of a fierce debate over the future of our nation’s healthcare system. In the midst of this very important discussion about a subject that impacts every American, it would have been easy to overlook a program aimed at helping one little town in far Northwest Montana.
That is why I am writing this letter to express our (mine and Libby’s) thanks to Senator Steve Daines for his efforts to protect an important provision for Libby residents affected by asbestos. Thousands of current and former Libby residents have benefitted from the provision which provides money for asbestos illness screenings, makes anyone – regardless of age – with an asbestos related illness eligible for Medicare, and provides a pilot program allowing for medical care and daily living assistance not covered by Medicare.
As Republicans in Congress prepared to roll out their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare earlier this month, Senator Daines sent a letter and engaged in talks with congressional leadership bringing the Libby issue to their attention. I am pleased to say that the American Health Care Act leaves the Libby provision untouched and these vital programs for the people of Libby will continue.
I share Senator Daines’ desire to see Obamacare repealed and replaced. However, what is happening in Libby is a public health emergency and these programs are unrelated to the larger law. We must continue to care for those in our community affected by asbestos, and I thank the senator for going to bat for us.
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