Skip to content

Us Senate Passes Schumer Sickle Cell Bill To Provide New Sickle Cell Research Center And 40 Local Clinics

Schumer bill will also increase Sickle Cell treatment services not currently covered by Medicaid and give states matching funds for genetic counseling and education

Final vote on legislation containing language 92-5

US Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the US Senate last night passed his legislation to increase research and improve treatment of Sickle Cell Disease. The bill, which Schumer cosponsored with Senator Jim Talent (RMO), was included in the the JumpStart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Bill that passed by a 92 to 5 vote late last night. This bill will provide a major boost for the health care of thousands of people. Thats why it won such broad and bipartisan support in a Senate where, frankly, we don't always see people working together across party lines," Schumer said. "But together we acted to increase research into and treatment for Sickle Cell Disease, and I look forward to the final pasage and the Presdient signing it into law.

Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited defect in blood that causes normally round blood cells to take on a sickle shape. These sickleshaped cells clog the bloodstream, creating obstructions that result in severe medical complications. More than 2.5 million Americans, mostly AfricanAmericans, have the sickle cell trait in their blood, and approximately 70,000 Americans have Sickle Cell Disease.

Schumer said that the most feared complication for children with Sickle Cell Disease is a stroke, which may affect infants as young as 18 months. Some patients may not survive infancy or early childhood. Many adults with Sickle Cell Disease have severe physical problems, such as acute lung complications that can result in death. The average life span for an adult with Sickle Cell Disease is 45 years.

To increase treatment of and research into Sickle Cell Disease, Schumer introduced the Sickle Cell Treatment Act with Senator Jim Talent (RMO). This legislation would:

" Increase Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care. The Schumer/Talent legislation provides funding for Sickle Cell Diseaserelated services, making it easier for doctors to treat Sickle Cell Disease patients by increasing the availability of physician and laboratory services that are not currently reimbursed or underreimbursed by Medicaid.

" Enhance Services Available to Sickle Cell Disease Patients. The Schumer/Talent legislation allows states to receive a federal 5050 funding match for nonmedical expenses related to Sickle Cell Disease treatment such as genetic counseling, community outreach, education and other services.

" Create 40 Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Centers. The Schumer/Talent legislation authorizes an annual $10 million grant program for five years for the creation of 40 treatment centers that will provide medical treatment, education and other services for Sickle Cell Disease patients.

" Establish a Sickle Cell Disease Research Headquarters. The Schumer/Talent legislation ?creates a National Coordinating Center, operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to oversee the Sickle Cell Disease funding and the research conducted at hospitals, universities and communitybased organizations in a coordinated effort to educate patients and help find a cure for the disease.

The bill now must be approved by the US House of Representatives. A Conference Committee will have to work out difference between the House and Senate versions of the bills before the President can sign it into law.