House passes landmark legislation for arthritis

Published 12:20 am Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Arthritis Foundation, Alabama Chapter applauds Congressmen Spencer Bachus, Artur Davis, Mike Rogers, Jo Bonner, Robert Aderholt, Bud Cramer and Terry Everett for cosponsoring the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act (H.R. 1283), which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives before adjourning last month.

Alabama was among the first few states in the country to have 100-percent support of its congressional delegation, including Senator Jeff Sessions and Senator Richard Shelby, who was one the original cosponsors of the bill (S.626) in the U. S. Senate. The legislation is the first comprehensive, bipartisan legislation in more than 30 years to addresses arthritis – the nation’s most common cause of disability that impacts one in five (46 million) Americans and 300,000 children. If passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law, the bill will expand and strengthen public health initiatives proven to combat the burden of arthritis, and improve access to pediatric rheumatologists to address the country’s severe shortage of these critical health professionals.

“We applaud the House of Representatives for passing the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act, and we appreciate, recognize and applaud the leadership of Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Chip Pickering (R-MS) for moving this critical legislation forward in the House,” said Dr. John Klippel, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation.

“The Arthritis Foundation is comprised of people all across the nation who have worked tirelessly over the past five years to let Congress know that more needs to be done for people with arthritis. Now that the bill has passed in the House, the Arthritis Foundation and our grassroots advocates across the nation will work to see the bill passed in the Senate, signed into law and most importantly, implemented,” said Sandi Falkenhagen of Birmingham, Alabama Chapter president.

The Arthritis Foundation urges Alabamians to show support for this bill by contacting Senators Shelby and Sessions and by becoming an advocate (

With more than 1.2 million Alabamians diagnosed with one or more of the 140 forms of arthritis, Alabama has the country’s second highest prevalence rate of arthritis, or 35 percent, of the adult population, plus about 4,500 children (1 out of 250). It is estimated that arthritis costs our state more than nearly $3 billion annually in direct medical expenses, plus disability claims, lost wages and production.

The Arthritis Foundation is the leading health organization addressing the needs of some 46 million Americans living with arthritis, the nation’s most common cause of disability. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $400 million in research grants since 1948. Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the foundation helps individuals take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-283-7800 or