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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis Introduces Legislation to Help Patients with Congenital Heart Defects

November 5, 2015
Press Release

Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) today introduced legislation to reauthorize the Congenital Heart Futures Act. This bipartisan legislation raises awareness of the continuing impact congenital heart defects have throughout patients’ lifespans, promotes more research at NIH, and encourages the development of lifelong, specialized care for patients with a congenital heart defect.

“Each year in our country, nearly 40,000 babies are born with a congenital heart defect,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis. “It is the most common birth defect and the number one cause of birth defect related deaths. As a founder of the Congenital Heart Caucus, I understand the struggles these newborns and their families face. This bill helps give hope to these families.”

“This legislation will bring us one step closer to better treatments and potential cures for congenital heart defects,” added Bilirakis. “We must pass this bill and continue our efforts to help our future generations live longer, healthier lives.”

Bipartisan co-sponsors of the bill shared their support:

"This bipartisan bill will enable the Centers for Disease Control to continue its vital study into early childhood congenital heart defects to assess the lifelong needs of those born with CHD," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). "Both children and adults who are born with CHD will face lingering health risks and increased medical costs their entire lives, and this research funding is too important to be lost to congressional inaction."

“Every 15 minutes in America, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect.  Many of these congenital heart defects are simple and can be easily corrected.  Others are complex; some can require a lifetime of specialized medical care which can be prohibitively expensive,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL).  “The Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act bill will coordinate congenital heart disease research and help those with this challenge live longer.”

 “Far too many vulnerable children are born with congenital heart defects. While we have made significant progress in improving these children’s lives, we still have much to do to learn how to provide the best care possible for these individuals throughout their lives. Our nation has an abiding obligation to support research into these medical conditions,” Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said. “This legislation is a bipartisan approach that has the potential to improve survival rates. We owe it to the children and adults living with congenital heart defects to do all we can to address their medical needs.”

The Adult Congenital Heart Association, American Heart Association, Pediatric Congenital Heart Association, and National Down Syndrome Society  support the legislation.