Eshoo and Upton Introduce Bill to Provide Relief for Millions with Arthritis

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A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today will strengthen efforts to prevent, control and cure arthritis - the nation's most common cause of disability. The bi-partisan legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), will address a disease that impacts more than 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children.

Arthritis and rheumatic diseases will likely touch every American in some stage of their lives - either as patients or caregivers. This is a serious issue and should be treated as seriously as we treat other diseases. We must require our lawmakers to take action and send a message to the 46 million that they have not been forgotten in health care

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today will strengthen efforts to prevent, control and cure arthritis - the nation's most common cause of disability. The bi-partisan legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), will address a disease that impacts more than 46 million adults and nearly 300,000 children.

"As the leading cause of disability in the United States, we must do more to help treat, cure, and ultimately prevent this disease that affects one in five American adults. This legislation will encourage doctors to pursue pediatric rheumatology to help the thousands of children who suffer from juvenile arthritis and have no access to the right care," says Rep. Eshoo.

The American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation applaud the efforts of Eshoo and Upton for introducing the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act and urge Congress to take swift action.

"Arthritis and rheumatic diseases will likely touch every American in some stage of their lives - either as patients or caregivers. This is a serious issue and should be treated as seriously as we treat other diseases. We must require our lawmakers to take action and send a message to the 46 million that they have not been forgotten in health care," explains Sherine Gabriel, MD, president of the American College of Rheumatology.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, the personal and financial burden of arthritis on our society is enormous and action must be taken now. Currently, arthritis disables 19 million Americans and takes a $128 billion toll annually on the U.S. economy in direct and indirect medical costs.

"Even as the number of people with arthritis rises, federal funding for arthritis research has declined in today's dollar, and intervention programs that could limit the impact are being underutilized," says John H. Klippel, MD, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation.

The Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act would enhance rheumatic disease research and expand efforts to prevent, treat and care for people with arthritis and related rheumatic diseases by:

  • Enhancing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's public health activities related to arthritis
  • Expanding and strengthening National Institutes of Health programs relating to juvenile arthritis
  • Establishing a juvenile arthritis population database
  • Enhancing support for training programs
  • Establishing a loan repayment program for pediatric rheumatologists to address the country's severe shortage of these critical health care providers

"This important legislation takes the offensive in our effort to provide relief to the 46 million children and adults who suffer from arthritis each day," says Representative Upton. "We cannot be complacent - few realize arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the United States, inflicting severe, debilitating pain for one out of every five adults. We are long overdue in finding a cure for arthritis, and this measure will boost efforts needed to conquer this disease."

The American College of Rheumatology and the Arthritis Foundation urge Americans, both young and old, to show support for this bill by contacting their members of Congress. Call the AMA Grassroots Hotline at (800) 833-6354 or visit http://www.arthritis.org/advocacy.php

About the American College of Rheumatology
The American College of Rheumatology is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases. It represents more than 8,000 members worldwide who maintain a strong commitment to research and education, advancing the understanding of rheumatic diseases, and discovering new therapies to treat these diseases.

About the Arthritis Foundation
The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation's most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple services points located throughout the country.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $400 million in research grants since 1948. The foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis.

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Carol Galbreath
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