Washington, D.C. – Today is Chronic Disease Day, a reminder of the sobering fact that approximately six in every ten Americans live with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of the country’s health care spending is on patients with chronic conditions. More important than the economic impact of chronic disease, is the impact these conditions have on Americans’ quality of life. Today we think of those holding out hope for a new treatment or cure as they bravely fight their disease day in and day out.
Unfortunately, at a time when lawmakers should be prioritizing innovation and promoting policies that create an environment that fosters the discovery of better treatments and possible cures, many are advocating for policies that we already know will crush innovation and the hopes of so many. We know that proposals like H.R. 3 – Speaker Pelosi’s partisan, socialist drug pricing scheme – could result in a loss of over 100 new treatments for patients. While this is a sacrifice that leaders at the highest levels of the Democrat party have made clear they are willing to make, E&C Republicans know that even just one medicine or treatment not being developed because of ill-conceived public policy is one too many. Now more than ever, we need to foster American innovation and do everything we can to improve the health and well-being of every American.
Another critical component of addressing chronic disease is responsibly providing sustainable resources needed to help Americans access care. We must fund Community Health Centers and work to provide stable funding for important public health programs, including those that support Americans with chronic conditions like diabetes. Just this week, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to examine the challenges tribal communities are facing, and we know that many of these challenges stem from inadequate access to health care services and resources. Programs like the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) help combat diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities by providing grants in these communities. SDPI – and programs like it that help fight chronic conditions in communities across the country – need the certainty of long-term funding to function as intended. Congress must work in a bipartisan way on these important extenders.
This Chronic Disease Day, as we offer our support to those who are bravely living with chronic conditions, we recognize the work needed to bring hope and innovation to these patients and their loved ones and the need to responsibly provide resources to the communities and programs that need them most.