Tester Meets with Libby CARD Clinic Officials to Discuss Health Care, Asbestos Legislation

Senator: I’ll fight tooth and nail for the people of Libby

(U.S. Senate) – After taking EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to task for trying to cut resources from an EPA toxic risk review on asbestos, U.S. Senator Jon Tester met with Libby officials to discuss ensuring Lincoln County residents continue getting the health care they need.

Tester met with Dr. Brad Black of the Center for Asbestos Related Disease (CARD), following the Trump Administration’s most recent attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and jeopardize the clinic’s future along with health care for tens of millions of Americans.

“The CARD clinic saves lives in Libby every day,” Tester said. “I’m going to fight tooth and nail for these critical health care provisions so that thousands of Montanans, including those exposed to asbestos in Libby, can keep their coverage and get the quality health care they deserve.”

Last week, Tester slammed the Trump Administration’s endorsement of a federal district court ruling that would strike down the ACA in its entirety-including coverage for folks with preexisting conditions, bans on annual and lifetime caps, and provisions for people exposed to asbestos in Libby.

The two also discussed Tester’s work on legislation aimed at curbing exposure to asbestos. Tester recently introduced the Alan Reinstein Ban Asbestos Now Act, which would ban the manufacturing, processing, use, and distribution of asbestos and any mixtures containing the deadly carcinogen in America. More than 200 residents of Libby have died and thousands more have been diagnosed with asbestos-related diseases since W.R. Grace closed its local vermiculite mine in 1990.

Tester has been a vocal advocate for Libby, commissioning long-term health assessments and progress reports on this issue and pushing the EPA to intensify its cleanup efforts around Libby, Troy and other Montana Superfund sites. Last June, he secured a $2.5 million grant for the CARD clinic to screen Lincoln County residents for asbestos-related diseases, and he passed a bipartisan resolution to raise awareness about asbestos-related diseases.