For the first time in decades, the United States has seen a drop in life expectancy. This is extremely troubling and emphasizes the need for our country to take a hard look on the health and wellness of our citizens. We need to increase access to healthcare for all Americans, improve preventative health, and make the necessary investments into research and development on how to combat diseases.
Affordable Care Act
I am proud supporter of the Affordable Care Act which put in place a patient bill of rights. The ramifications of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act for Ohioans are real. In Ohio alone, more than 35 thousand young adults would lose their insurance coverage through their parents’ health plans. Nearly 6.7 million residents of Ohio with private insurance coverage will be vulnerable again to having lifetime limits placed on how much insurance companies will spend on their health care. More than 1.8 million seniors in Ohio who have Medicare coverage would be forced to pay a co-pay to receive important preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies. Repealing the ACA will have tragic effects on the millions of Americans who rely on quality and affordable healthcare for their families.
Research and Development
As Congress continues to work to promote accountability in the budget and avoid wasteful spending, I believe it is imperative that we continue to fund important programs to improve our Nation’s healthcare. That is why I am a longtime supporter of continuing to fund the National Institute of Health, which provides funding for research grants and clinical trials for such diseases as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Further, I was pleased to support the 21st Century Cures Act, which was signed into law by President Obama. This legislation focuses on increased investments to the NIH, expedites reviews of lifesaving medicine, and streamlines the drug and device development process. This legislation will deliver $8.75 billion for the NIH in mandatory funding over the next five years which will help continue research grants and clinical trials for many diseases. This legislation also focuses on the modernization of clinical trials and supports the inclusion of diverse populations in clinical research, which allows for the use of new and creative adaptive clinical trial designs and encourages the development of next generation treatments. Furthermore, it supports the development of precision medicine through funding in the NIH and Cures Innovation Fund. In addition, the package includes key provisions on substance use disorders and mental health, including $1 billion in grants for states to treat heroin and prescription opioid addiction. I hope this legislation will give the millions of people of who are suffering from life-threatening diseases and their families hope that a cure will be discovered.
Healthcare spending in the United States continues to rise. Healthcare expenditures surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008, with costs from chronic disease treatment accounting for over 75 percent of national health costs. Many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke are linked to dietary and lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many physicians feel inadequately trained to provide proper nutrition advice. Furthermore, the same can be said for physical activity – although expert recommendations encourage more medical schools to teach physical activity, only 13 percent of medical schools integrate it into the curricula. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Expansion of Nutrition’s Role in Curricula and Healthcare (ENRICH) Act, which would create a grant program for U.S. Medical Schools and Osteopathic Colleges to create an integrated nutrition and physical activity curriculum program.