Senate Democrats

Will Bush-McCain Republicans Block Critical Health Care Bills?

Next week, Bush-McCain Republicans will have the opportunity to vote in favor of a series of common-sense bills that will expand research and improve treatment for diseases and medical conditions that afflict millions of Americans. These bills are bipartisan and non-controversial, which should make it easy to for Bush-McCain Republicans to join Democrats in passing this important legislation. For the millions of Americans suffering from these diseases, these bills are critical to finding cures and living healthier, fuller lives. For their sake, Bush-McCain Republicans should join with Democrats to pass these bills.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Registry Act

Establishes a National Registry to Collect Data to Improve the Study of ALS.  The bill would provide for the creation and maintenance of a single nationwide ALS Registry at the CDC by identifying, building upon, expanding and coordinating among pre-existing registries and building on the foundation provided by the pilot programs.  The registry would collect data essential to the study of ALS as determined by a newly-created federal Advisory Committee on the National ALS Registry.  The purpose of the registry is to better describe the incidence and prevalence of ALS in the US; examine appropriate factors, such as environmental and occupational factors that may be associated with the disease; better outline key demographic factors (such as age, race or ethnicity, gender and family history of individuals diagnosed with the disease); and better examine information about other disorders that can be confused with, misdiagnosed as, or progress to ALS. It would provide for research access to ALS data as recommended by the Advisory Committee and ensure that such data is available to the NIH and Department of Veterans Affairs.  The House bill was introduced May 14, 2007, ordered reported by the Energy and Committee on September 27, 2007, and passed the House 411-3 on October 16, 2007.  The Senate bill was introduced on May 14, 2007 and an amended version was reported by the Senate HELP Committee to the Senate calendar on December 4, 2007. [S. 1382/HR 2295]

Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act  

Enhances Cooperation in Paralysis Research, Rehabilitation and Quality of Life Programs. The purpose of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act is to support and enhance cooperation in paralysis research, rehabilitation, and quality of life programs for people with paralysis.  This legislation requires NIH to develop mechanisms to coordinate NIH paralysis research and rehabilitation activities in order to further advance and avoid duplication of such activities.  Additionally, it directs Health and Human Services to award grants for multicenter networks of clinical sites to design clinical rehabilitation intervention protocols and measures of outcomes of paralysis.  Finally, it authorizes funding to study and carry out projects to improve the daily lives of persons with paralysis and mobility impairment from any cause — stroke, ALS, spinal cord injuries, and others.  The Senate bill was introduced on April 23, 2007 and reported to the Senate calendar by the HELP Committee (amended version) on August 3, 2007.  The House bill was introduced March 28, 2007, ordered reported (amended version) by the Energy and Commerce Committee on September 27, 2007, and passed the House by voice vote on October 15, 2007. [S. 1183/HR 1727]

Stroke Treatment and Ongoing Prevention Act  

Establishes Comprehensive Systems of Stroke Care and Augments Education of First Responders to Improve Care of Patients Presenting With Stroke Symptoms.  The Cochran-Kennedy STOP Stroke Act will help establish comprehensive systems of stroke care in healthcare settings as well as augment the education of first responders to ensure that patients presenting with signs or symptoms of a stroke will receive the highest quality of care.  The legislation was first introduced by Senators Kennedy and Frist in 2001. The legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate in 2002.  In the current Congress, the STOP Stroke Act was introduced by Senators Cochran and Kennedy on March 27, 2007.  By voice vote, the legislation was approved by the Senate HELP Committee on April 16, 2007.  A companion measure in the House was approved by the Committee on Energy and Commerce by voice vote (amended version), then passed the House by voice vote on March 27, 2007. [S. 999/HR 477]

The Melanie Blocker Stokes MOTHERS Act  

Provides Support Services for Women Suffering from Postpartum Depression and Supports Research and Education Efforts on Postpartum Depression. This legislation will help provide support services to women suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis and will also help educate mothers and their families about these conditions.  In addition, it will support research into the causes, diagnoses and treatments for postpartum depression and psychosis.  The House version of the bill was introduced on January 4, 2007, ordered reported by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on September 27, 2007, and passed the House 382-3 on October 15, 2007.  Senator Coburn repeatedly blocked Senate HELP Committee action on the Senate companion bill. [S. 1375/HR 20] 

Vision Care for Kids Act

Provides Access to Eye Exams, Treatment and Vision Services for Children. This bill would ensure that children get the vital vision care that they need to succeed in school.  The Vision Care for Kids Act will establish a state grant program through the CDC to compliment and encourage existing state efforts to improve children’s vision care. More specifically grant funds will be used to provide comprehensive eye exams to children that have been previously identified as needing such services, with priority given to children 9 and under; provide treatment or services necessary to correct vision problems identified in that eye exam; and develop and disseminate educational materials to recognize the signs of visual impairment in children for parents, teachers, and health care practitioners.  There is a 25% matching requirement for states to receive the grants, and they will have to agree to be evaluated annually on their use of the grants.  The lead sponsor of the Senate bill is Senator Bond.  The House bill was introduced on January 17, 2007, passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on September 27, 2007 (amended version), and passed the House by voice vote on October 15, 2007. [HR 507/S. 1117]

 Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act

 Ensures Parents Have Access to Up-to-Date Information on Conditions and Treatment Options Related to Prenatal and Postnatal Conditions. This bill, sponsored by Senators Brownback and Kennedy, ensures that pregnant women facing a positive prenatal test result, or who deliver an infant with a postnatal condition, will be more likely to receive up-to-date, scientific information about the life expectancy, clinical course, intellectual and functional development, and prenatal and postnatal treatment options, and referrals to support services.  Additionally, the bill requires the Secretary of HHS to make grants to entities to collect, synthesize, and disseminate evidenced-based information related to diagnosed conditions and make that information available to health providers and to coordinate access to new or existing support services.  The bill was introduced in the Senate on July 18, 2007 and passed the HELP Committee by voice vote on April 21, 2008. Congressman Sensenbrenner is the lead sponsor of the House bill. [S. 1810/HR 3112]