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Increase Funding of Arthritis Prevention at the CDC

Research Is Critical to Find a Cure

Arthritis affects 1 in 4 Americans and is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., according to CDC. It limits the daily activities of nearly 24 million Americans and causes work limitations for 40 percent of the people with the disease. This translates to $156 billion a year in direct and indirect costs from two forms of arthritis alone – osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

There is no cure for arthritis, and for some forms of arthritis like OA, there is no effective pharmaceutical treatment. Research is critical to build towards a cure, to develop better treatments with fewer severe side effects, and to identify biomarkers and therapies for types of arthritis for which none exist. A strong investment in public health research and programs is essential to making breakthroughs in treatments finding a cure for arthritis, and for delivering those breakthroughs to the people who suffer from this debilitating disease.

Increase Support for the CDC Arthritis Program

The goal of the Center of Disease Control (CDC) Arthritis Program is to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis and other rheumatic conditions by working with states and other partners to:

  • Increase awareness about appropriate arthritis self-management activities
  • Extend the reach of programs proven to improve the quality of life for people with arthritis
  • Decrease the overall burden of arthritis as well as its associated disability, work and activity limitations

Unfortunately, funding for the CDC Arthritis Program does not fully address the needs of population.

At the national level, the program funds national organizations, such as the Arthritis Foundation, that have a broad impact across states, and also funds the only longitudinal study dedicated to arthritis, out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At the state level, the program helps states implement self-management education and physical activity interventions, which are crucial for overall disease management. At current funding levels, CDC is only able to fund 12 states (CA, KS, KY, MI, MO, MT, NY, OR, PA, RI, SC, and UT).

The CDC estimates that physical activity programs can reduce annual health care costs by about $1,000 per person. Expanding the reach of the Arthritis Program can have a significant return on investment and greatly improve the lives of people suffering from arthritis.

What is the Impact of this Issue?

The Arthritis Program is woefully under-funded as compared to the investment in other chronic diseases. Despite the low funding level of $13 million in FY14, funding was cut by 27% in FY15. We were able to restore $1.5 million in FY16, bringing the current total to $11 million. Congress should increase funding to $16 million to begin re-building the lost funding from the last 3 years and to begin expanding the program. With a $5 million funding increase, the Arthritis Program can expand into an additional 3 states, fund a total of 5 national partners and increase its investment in public health research.

Not only does the Arthritis Program provide resources to people with arthritis, it also supports data collection on the prevalence and severity of arthritis. Because of this support, we know that 1 in 4 Americans has doctor-diagnosed arthritis, two-thirds of them are under the age of 65, 78 million Americans are expected to have the disease by 2040, and about half of adults with heart disease or diabetes have arthritis.

How You and Members of Congress Can Help

How You Can Make an Impact

The goal of the CDC Arthritis Program is to improve the quality of life for people affected by arthritis, but the current funding for this program does not meet the needs of the population. Become an Advocate and help the Arthritis Foundation make an impact on this issue! Read More >>