arthritis foundation hill briefing US economy

Arthritis Foundation to Host a Hill Briefing on the Rising Cost of Arthritis to the U.S. Economy

On Thursday, February 1, the Arthritis Foundation and American College of Rheumatology (ACR) – along with seven other health advocacy organizations – will host a briefing on Capitol Hill urging lawmakers to increase research funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to combat the nation’s leading cause of disability.

New data reveals the stunning impact of arthritis on the U.S. economy. Between 2003 and 2013, the annual cost of arthritis more than doubled and now totals $304 billion in direct and indirect costs, according to a CDC-sponsored study published in the September 2017 edition of Arthritis Care & Research. These figures include both higher medical costs to patients, as well as lost earnings from individuals who are unable to work due to their condition.

Panelists at the briefing will discuss the implications of this new data, the current and future health care challenges for people living with arthritis and potential policy solutions – including the need for additional funding for federal arthritis research programs. Increased funding is made even more urgent by a recent study suggesting that as many as 91 million Americans may be affected by arthritis when adding together those who have been doctor-diagnosed and those not diagnosed but who report chronic joint pain and stiffness. The same Boston University study indicates one-third of Americans ages 18 to 64 and over half of those 65 and older have arthritis.

The Hill briefing will be moderated by former Arthritis Foundation board chair Michael Ortman. Panelists include Dr. Angus Worthing, a practicing rheumatologist and chair of ACR’s government affairs committee; Dr. Chad Helmick, a medical epidemiologist and researcher with the CDC’s Arthritis Program; Erin Vago, juvenile arthritis patient and Arthritis Foundation Ambassador; and Lesha Spencer-Brown, program manager at the National Recreation and Park Association.

“Increasing the federal investment in arthritis research and programs is essential to turning the tide of arthritis,” says Anna Hyde, Arthritis Foundation vice president of advocacy and access. “The disease burden is incredibly high, and we need funding in public health programs to match it. Our collective voice can make a big impact by calling attention to the vital work being done by the CDC, NIH and DoD to help conquer arthritis.”

Our advocacy team in Washington, DC, and our Advocates and Ambassadors around the county are working hard to raise the visibility of arthritis with lawmakers. Help spread the word by getting involved with our advocacy efforts.

Sign up to be an Advocate today!

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