The U.S. House of Representatives will consider landmark legislation that would expand access to affordable health care coverage to millions of Americans through a combination of making low-cost marketplace health plans available to low-income people in states that have yet to expand Medicaid, permanently increasing federal funding for Medicaid in the U.S. Territories, and extending increased subsidies for individuals to buy marketplace coverage nationwide.
National Pain Care Legislation Would Increase Research, Education and Awareness of Pain Management Issues
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- July 11, 2007 -- Millions of Americans who suffer from pain could soon find relief thanks to legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today. Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) introduced the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2007, which would improve pain care research, education, training, and access.
Chronic pain affects an estimated 76.2 million Americans more than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Pain is also the most common reason Americans access the health care system and is a leading contributor to health care costs, accounting for more than $100 billion a year in expenses and lost productivity.
"For many cancer patients, fear of cancer pain is worse than fear of death itself," said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). "The good news is that nearly all cancer pain can be relieved if treated adequately. This legislation will address significant pain management barriers such as, lack of physician training, patient awareness and treatment disparities based on gender, age and race."
"At the American Pain Foundation, we believe that access to appropriate, timely and unbiased pain care is a fundamental right. For a number of reasons, these rights are sadly unrealized for millions of Americans in pain," said Will Rowe, executive director of the American Pain Foundation. "By increasing research, education and awareness of pain issues, the National Pain Care Policy Act takes important steps toward making these rights a reality."
Key components of the bill include:
The authorization of an Institute of Medicine Conference on Pain Care;
Permanent authorization of the trans-institute Pain Consortium at the National Institutes of Health;
The creation of a grant program to improve health professionals’ understanding and ability to assess and appropriately treat pain; and
The creation of a national public awareness campaign about pain management, conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, with particular attention to improving access to appropriate pain treatment among underserved populations.
The American Pain Foundation and ACS CAN, the sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, are members of the Pain Care Forum, a broad-based network representing patient advocates, nursing and physician associations, and medical institutes.
Founded in 1997, the American Pain Foundation is an independent nonprofit 501(c)3 organization serving people with pain through information, advocacy, and support. Our mission is to improve the quality of life of people with pain by raising public awareness, providing practical information, promoting research, and advocating to remove barriers and increase access to effective pain management. For more information, visit www.painfoundation.org.
ACS CAN is the nonprofit, nonpartisan sister advocacy organization of the American Cancer Society, dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers, candidates and government officials to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer. For more information, visit www.fightcancer.org.