Tester Announces $2.5 Million for Asbestos Clinic in Libby

Funding for Health Screenings Comes from Affordable Care Act

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $2.5 million to support health screenings for families who have been exposed to asbestos in Libby.

As part of his ongoing work on behalf of the people of Libby, Tester announced that this funding, provided through the Affordable Care Act, will support Libby’s Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD).

“The people of Libby have not only survived but thrived-thanks in large part to the work done by CARD,” Tester said. “This funding ensures the folks suffering from asbestos-related diseases in Libby can continue to get the critical care they need, while the folks at risk can be prevented from developing these diseases in the first place. As Washington politicians attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, I will be fighting to protect the critical resources that keep northwest Montana healthy.”

CARD was established in 2000 after reports revealed that hundreds of Libby residents had fallen ill or died as a result of asbestos exposure associated with Libby’s vermiculite mine. Since then, CARD has provided widespread screenings to thousands of people in Libby and across the country because of their expertise.

“Much appreciation goes to Senator Tester for his longstanding support for special programs that address the environment and health effects that have impacted the Libby residents due to mining of asbestos contaminated vermiculite,” said Dr. Brad Black, CEO and Medical Director of CARD. “The awarded screening grant is vitally important to the Libby community going forward.”

This funding comes from the Affordable Care Act Program for Early Detection of Certain Medical Conditions Related to Environmental Health Hazards, a program Tester and former U.S. Senator Max Baucus successfully fought to include in the health care reform bill. Last Congress, Tester secured a $10 million, four-year grant for CARD to provide asbestos disease and lung cancer screenings, as well as outreach and educational programs to Libby residents affected by asbestos exposure. This funding is part of that $10 million grant.

Tester has long been a champion of CARD’s efforts and a strong advocate for increasing funding, research and awareness of asbestos-related diseases. In addition to defending the Affordable Care Act and the many crucial benefits it provides to the city Libby, Tester also recently helped pass the Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, specifically pushing to include key provisions that help protect communities from asbestos exposure. Tester also recently celebrated “National Asbestos Awareness Week,” which was established by a Senate Resolution Tester introduced earlier this Congress. Tester also received the “Tribute of Hope” award from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization earlier this month.