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"There are the protected and the unprotected," Peggy Noonan wrote in a 2016 op-ed. "The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully. The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful--those who have power or access to it. ... They are protected from the world they have created."
With COVID-19 taking up so much of the news cycle, it can be easy to forget about those living with debilitating illnesses like ALS. Even as scientists continue researching a coronavirus vaccine and working to make the impact as small as possible on America, I believe we need to continue providing cutting-edge treatment and medications to those with chronic illnesses. Unfortunately, the approval process for many of these prescription drugs is time-intensive and burdensome, causing those who need the medicine most to experience delays in care.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) joined U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) and Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) to introduce the Promising Pathways Act, a bill that would increase access to treatments for those with life-threatening illnesses.
Even though Governor Hutchinson has begun the process of reopening Arkansas, that doesn’t mean things will immediately return to normal. Doctors and nurses on the front lines of COVID-19 relief still need vast amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE) for their daily work, and rural health clinics performing elective procedures and other services will also have an increased need for PPE.
Ever since Congress passed the $2 trillion CARES Act, I know many of you have had questions about what this bill means for you, your families and your businesses. I hosted a telephone town hall to hear from you and answer your questions. UAMS Chancellor Dr. Cam Patterson and Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission Mike Preston joined me on the call, providing helpful insight and resources.
As the U.S. grapples with containing COVID-19, Congress has been working to provide emergency funding for research, relief efforts, small businesses, unemployed workers and more. Phase III of the funding plan, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed the House and Senate the week of March 22. It’s not a perfect bill, but the CARES Act goes a long way in aiding those most affected by COVID-19.
COVID-19 is presenting many unique challenges to American families, lawmakers, state and local officials, businesses and many others. These are uncharted waters for all of us, and it’s important we remain united and work together to care for our friends and loved ones.
As Coronavirus continues spreading across the U.S., I urge everyone to exercise caution and work to protect your own health and the health of your friends and family. Many of you have called or written to me asking for more information, so Congressman French Hill and I hosted a telephone town hall to answer questions. Dr. Nate Smith from the Arkansas Department of Health joined us on the line, and his advice was so valuable.
The best ways to protect yourself and others from sickness are to thoroughly and regularly wash your hands, avoid touching your face, sanitize doorknobs, phones, keyboards and other commonly used surfaces and stay home if you’re feeling sick. Even as Coronavirus (also referred to as COVID-19) dominates news headlines, these commonsense measures are still the best way to guard against getting sick.