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Booker, Van Hollen Introduce Legislation to Expand Care for Sickle Cell Disease

Patients with sickle cell disease have blood cells that are stiff and misshapen. The cells don't carry oxygen as well and clog up the bloodstream, resulting in periodic bouts of excruciating pain.

The bill would fund more treatment centers and make grants to hospitals to train specialists

More than a hundred thousand people in the US have sickle cell disease, where red blood cells take on a sickle shape and can’t properly transport oxygen.

It can be hard for those who suffer with it to find treatment depending on where they live. But there is a bill in Congress now to expand care facilities, introduced by Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

“This is an injustice that sickle cell anemia, which disproportionately affects people of African descent has for too long not gotten the resources, attention and support it deserves,” said Booker.

The bill would provide grants to hospitals and money to train specialists in sickle cell disease.

“This legislation when, not if, when it gets signed by the President of the United States, will literally make a difference in the lives of the over 100,000 people who have sickle cell,” Booker said.

The legislation would also fund services for young adults moving from pediatric to adult treatment of the disease.

Van Hollen lost a young member of his staff to the disease last year. Booker said this legislation can prevent outcomes like this.

“We also know that expanding access to care, expanding community support, that it will literally save lives,” said Booker.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.