Alexander: Committee Approves 2 Bills to “Help Americans Lead Healthier Lives,” Continues Record of Results-Oriented Bipartisanship

Urges Senate approval of bills to help the 20,000 Americans in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, support 40 million family caregivers in the United States

Posted on November 18, 2015

WASHINGTON, November 18 – The chairman of the Senate health committee today urged full Senate passage of two pieces of bipartisan public health legislation, after they passed out of committee, which he said are proof of the committee’s “record of results-oriented bipartisanship.” So far this Congress, the Senate health committee has reported nine bipartisan bills out of committee.

Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said, “On the Senate health committee, we have the opportunity to work on legislation that touches the lives of nearly every single American. Today our committee passed a bill that will help the 20,000 Americans in need of a bone marrow or cord blood transplant every year—as well as legislation to support the 40 million family caregivers in the United States who selflessly give of their time to support loved ones in need of help. I urge the full Senate to take up these important pieces of bipartisan legislation immediately.”

The Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2820), offered by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), passed out of committee by voice vote and will reauthorize and improve important federal programs that support cord blood donation and a national bone marrow registry. About 20,000 Americans, from infants up to age 74, are diagnosed with illnesses each year where a bone marrow or cord blood transplant is their best treatment option. According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Cord Blood Inventory adds approximately 9,000 new cord blood units each year.

The Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage, (or RAISE), Family Caregivers Act of 2015 (S. 1719), offered by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), passed out of committee by voice vote and will direct the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a National Family Caregiving Strategy to recognize and support family caregivers. In Tennessee alone, there are nearly 1 million family caregivers providing an estimated $10 billion per year in unpaid care. Supporting these family caregivers will help more people continue to live at home, and prevent hospitalizations and costly inpatient long-term care.

  

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