OP/ED: We must close the equity gap to provide better healthcare for sickle cell patients

May 19, 2022
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As a state legislator and the president of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL), I proudly stand behind the NBCSL position to improve care for patients diagnosed with sickle cell disease. NBCSL is a top organization representing the interests of Black elected officials urging state and federal policymakers to consider legislation to impact, either directly or indirectly, upon the general welfare of African American constituents within their respective jurisdictions.

In a resolution passed last month, NBCSL has prioritized the improvement in treatment for sickle cell disease as a top health care initiative and calls on state and federal lawmakers to increase data collection, quality care, and access to new treatments for sickle cell disease.

Sickle cell disease impacts over 100,000 Americans. Nearly 2,000 babies in our country are born with sickle cell every year, most of whom are African American. One in 13 African Americans carry the sickle cell trait, and many do not even know they possess it. Sickle cell is a rare blood disorder that can cause stroke, anemia, chronic pain, and vital organ and tissue damage. It impacts all aspects of a patient’s life and reduces their life expectancy to about 25 years below the average American lifespan.

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