This may come as shocking news to some, but not everyone thinks that the Congenital Heart Futures Act is wonderful. They can find no good reason for it.
These guys, for example, think the Congenital Heart Futures act is “egregious”. A complete waste of time and money. And in a way, they have a point. If you are not affected by a Congenital Heart Defect or are not familiar with the costs involved, it very well may not make sense to you. And with the Stimulus plan and the bank bailouts, yet another expenditure for a disease may not seem like the best use of resources.
That’s why you need to be familiar with the facts. Estimates of the number of people living with a Heart Defect in the United States range from 2.1 million (the number I use) to 3.6 million. Two million, one hundred thousand people fighting a chronic disease generate an enormous amount of health costs. These costs fall both on private insurers AND on Medicare/Medicaid… so like it or not, every taxpayer gets to share our medical bills.
And when you consider those 2.1 million people grow an average of 5% a year due to medical advances allowing us to live longer lives, those costs are going nowhere but up.
As a personal example, I take eleven different medications a day. You probably just rocked back in your chair and thought “Eleven? Per DAY?!?!” – but that’s not the highest amount that I know of. I know other CHD Survivors who take more, and some who take less. (Mind you, we aren’t even considering the cost of surgeries and hospitalization, just medication.) But if the research and the registry created by the Congenital Heart Futures Act can eliminate one medication from a Survivor’s daily routine, the cost savings would be significant.
And what’s the cost of the Congenital Heart Futures Act? At Lobby Day 2009, it was estimated that the cost of the bill would be slightly less than twenty million dollars per year. $20,000,000 – a drop in the bucket!
But here is a dirty little secret you never anticipated: We have to fight other heart organizations, too!
According to the Wall Street Journal,
The group, however, wants more federal-research funding to go toward heart diseases, which cause more deaths in the U.S. than any other disease. The patient-advocacy group said heart disease is projected to rise by 16% each decade, and deaths from stroke are expected to double from 2000 to 2032.
The group said it worries that without comprehensive changes, reductions in heart-disease deaths over the past few decades may be erased.
The “group” that wants more federal funding is the Big Red Heart. And the Big Red Heart naturally feels that it is the best group to receive and allocate the extra funds.
The Journal article notes that the National Institutes of Health allocates $25 billion a year for medical research, but only 4% of that goes to heart studies. So roughly a billion dollars a year, if my math is correct. So the “pie” of federal funding is a billion dollars each year, and if you are at the table when the pie is served, you get a slice. And who doesn’t love pie?
Well, we aren’t at the table – yet. But since everyone loves pie, nobody is planning to share. “MY pie! Go bake your own!” Well, we would if we could, but this is where the pie is served, and we don’t want that much, anyway. But we’ve got to be at the table with a plate and a fork when the pie is served, or we go hungry.
And that is why your efforts, at the local level, are going to be so important.