Here's your chance! In May I decided to take action. Well my professor made me take action. We were assigned to take some form of political action. I decided to write a letter to my senator regarding the National Pain Policy Act of 2009. I approached this assignment like any other--just get it done. What I found out was that it felt really good to take part in making a change (and it took me all of 30 minutes to complete). The most recent post over at howtocopewithpain.org reminded me of this.
The National Pain Policy Act of 2009 has already been passed in the House and is pending a vote in the Senate. The bill has five main goals or objectives.
1. Address the barriers that can prevent proper care for those in pain, such as research, knowledge, fund, and patients feeling free to open up about their pain.
2. Expand the program of pain research at the National Institute of Health.
3. Create a grant program which aims at improving a health care professional's knowledge and ability to assess and properly treat pain.
4. Create a conference on pain.
5. Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create and execute a national outreach campaign to educate the country on pain, specialists, treatment, and other options available to those suffering from pain.
To give you an idea of what you can say when you write to your senator, here's my letter:
Dear Senator (insert name),
I am writing to you in regards to the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2009, S. 660. This bill has been passed in the House and will hopefully be passed in the Senate as well. This bill has a few, very important goals. One is to address the barriers presented to those in pain as well as expanding the program of pain research at the National Institute of Health. An additional objective is to create a grant program which aims at improving a health care professional's knowledge and ability to assess and properly treat pain. Finally, section five requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to create and execute a national outreach campaign to educate the country on pain, specialists, treatments, and other options available to those suffering.
As on of more than 76.5 million Americans suffering from pain, this bill is incredibly important to me. To put this daunting statistic in perspective; pain affects more Americans than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined, and it is the number one reason people utilize their medical providers. I am a twenty-one year old female who suffers from Fibromyalgia, a chronic widespread pain disorder. I deal with pain day-in and day-out. For people like me, who will never be without pain, this bill could be our shot at living a more comfortable life.
Not only will this bill tremendously help pain suffers across the country, but it will also cut costs, for under-treated pain drives up costs. This is estimated at $100 billion annually in health care expense, lost income, as well as lost productivity. Personally, I spend around $5000 annually in medical expenses, co-pays, treatments, and medications, and I have health care, not including a loss of productivity or income. This is an unnecessary cost and burden placed upon myself and many other Americans. It can be prevented with your help.
In conclusion, please support the National Pain Care Policy Act of 2009, S. 660. This bill has the potential to change my life and those like me.
So what are you waiting for? Go write your letters!