Ronald Reagan’s Surgeon General, C. Everett Koop, is known as the first Surgeon General to become a household name. He was a celebrated pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and as Surgeon General, his dedication to helping children with disabilities and rare diseases was well-known. He advanced the treatment of children by helping find breakthrough cures, treatments and surgeries for kids born with rare diseases. Because of this, he’s as well-known as any pediatric surgeon in our country’s history.
Despite Dr. Koop’s work and the efforts of countless other doctors, researchers and scientists, we still have a lot of work left to do to help our children live long, fulfilling lives. Our children are our future and it is vital that we provide them with the best care possible, and I’m happy to report we are making great progress.
Last week, my committee—the Energy and Commerce committee, the body in Congress tasked with writing most of the nation’s health care laws—began examining public health programs that need to be reauthorized to continue operating. One of these is the Newborn Screening Program at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which collects data on babies born with rare diseases or birth defects. This program provides vital data to innovators who use the information to develop cures and treatments. I’ve been working with a bipartisan group of legislators to improve this program so the CDC can collect more detailed data on rare diseases that affect children and unlock more clues that will help us find cures to diseases that specifically prey on kids.
In addition, this week the House is working on legislation which will fund important programs at the CDC, including the Traumatic Brain Injury Program. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Pediatric Trauma Caucus, I advocated for and got a $6.75 million dollar increase in funding for the Traumatic Brain Injury program—giving the scientists at the CDC vital resources they need to provide better guidelines for parents and doctors on treating their children and patients with traumatic brain injuries.
Finally, last week, Congress sent legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk to reauthorize vital public health programs that form our bio-defense network. This legislation, which I helped write, will boost resources at the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority—a place where one of the first successful treatments of the Ebola virus was developed.
Also included in this package was the MISSION ZERO Act, my bipartisan legislation to assist assigning Department of Defense (DoD) trauma surgeons to civilian trauma centers, filling a gap in care observed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. This bill will benefit patients at trauma centers across the country who will have better access to highly-skilled, experienced military trauma teams. By the same token, it will ensure military medical professionals are able to keep their skill levels up when they aren’t deployed. I am excited to see this legislation become law after more than a year of hard work.
C. Everett Koop once said, “Health care is vital to all of us some of the time, but public health is vital to all of us all of the time.” He meant that while some of us may not need to go to the doctor every day, we need a robust public health network to help those who are sick and provide resources in times of emergencies. I have worked hard with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fulfill this promise to you, and I look forward to building on this work to provide resources that will help find better cures and treatments at lower prices.
Hudson represents North Carolina’s 8th District which includes Cabarrus and other counties.