It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for Uncle Sam. We truly have had a spectacle in our nation’s capital, and for the average American, the news is all bad. Somehow in the midst of all the work that our representatives should have been doing, a bill arose in the Senate and was passed unanimously. Was this to endorse apple pie as our national dessert? Was this to increase their pay? Better parking at the Capitol building? Give up? It was Senate resolution 243 endorsing a campaign against Atrial Fibrillation.
Say what? I’m not kidding. Unfortunately, I wish I was kidding about much of what I blog about, but you can’t make this stuff up. What did this landmark bill say, and why was it promulgated? This bill was introduced by Senator Crapo (I swear I’m not making this up) and co-introduced by Senator Casey, Senator Inouye, Senator Akaka, Senator Rubio (yes ours) and Senator Toomey. In the House, a corresponding resolution House 295 has been introduced and is being supported by the Heart Rhythm Society, which has recently been in the news as being to cozy with industry and StopAfib.org -- a patient advocacy site which is heavily endowed by drug and device company money. I urge you to read the bill in it’s entirety as it is short. It provides some facts such as the cost burcden of atrial fibrillation to the United States, which is estimated at $15.7 billion a year, that it affects about 2.5 million patients and that it is common over the age of 65. The Senate wants the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work with medical leaders “to explore ways to improve medical research, screening and prevention methods, and surveillance efforts in order to prevent and appropriately manage Atrial Fibrillation.” The resolution goes on to tell of all the wonderful ways we need to improve this problem, but guess what? I knew you knew. No money was appropriated in the making of this piece of information. It’s just a resolution telling us, the populace, what our Senators would like us to know and do. These are the same characters that voted along party lines whether or not to create a new healthcare act. These are some of the same characters that are trying to dismantle the same said healthcare act because the insurance companies are doing such a great job. This is a great idea and a great need. What we have, however, is a disingenuous ploy of doing something while doing nothing. When the elected officials in Washington get serious about healthcare instead of worrying about who gives me a free pen, maybe we will get things done. Until that time, all we have is the “war on cancer,” and we all know how that is going.