I wish every single one of our members could have been on Capitol Hill with us. But since a lot of you couldn't make it, here is a great recap and a few thoughts on this year's festivities.
Rob Wudlick’s Roll on Capitol Hill 2015 Experience and Summary
Of course it is important to ensure that Medicare and Medicaid rights are protected and improved for those with disabilities. This is the lifeblood of the majority of the community living with disabilities. With many states having successful custom state Medicaid programs, United Spinal recognizes the need for expansion and flexibility of these state programs that work with Medicare.
Medical research for functional recovery is very important for myself and many others with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Not having the freedom to live independently and managing serious health problems associated with SCI have are devastating to my quality of life. There are several bills alive in congress which will help those with SCI’s regain function and improve their health through medical technological breakthroughs.
The 21st Century Cures Act (HR. 6) has many policy improvements that will make it easier for research to pass through the research approval pipeline. There is also legislation which returns NIH funding to normal levels. This is incredibly important since appropriations for SCI research dropped from $94 million to $80 million in the last year. Another bill that would help coordinate and streamline medical research is the Enhancing the Stature and Visibility of Medical Rehabilitation Research at NIH Act (HR. 1469, S. 800). One more helpful bill for research innovations is the Regenerate Medicine Promotions Act of 2014 (HR. 4494, S. 2126).
A few thoughts from Thomas on ROCH 2015
All the steep curb cutouts, the hand burning declines in the capital tunnels, and even that awkward dance when there’s too many wheelchairs in a congress persons office are made worthwhile knowing we affected change on a national level. After over 100 SCI advocates met with their Senators and Representatives, more than 75 new legislators declared their support for the CRT bill (Custom Rehabilitation Technologies – see Rob’s post for details). I don’t know the breakdown between the House and Senate, but those numbers are significant. That is tangible proof that our Government will listen, we just need to get there and say something. That is where you, me, her, him, step in. We are always moving forward but going to an event such as ROCH is an energetic reminder that we have the power. This is the message I want to convey to those who were not able to come to Washington DC, we control our destinies.
As you can sense, I am ecstatic to see federal level Government being responsive to our needs. Add on the dedication of our larger spinal cord injured community and I am more hopeful now than I have been a long while.