Parity for Huntington’s
I am writing to strongly urge my representative to cosponsor the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act of 2013 (H.R. 1015) and to ask my senators to cosponsor the Senate Companion, S. 723. If passed, the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act would make it easier for people with HD to receive Social Security Disability and Medicare Benefits.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive, terminal neurological disorder with no cure and no treatment. Every person with HD becomes totally dependent upon others for his or her care. There are approximately 31,900 Huntington’s patients in the United States. Those individuals in turn directly impact an estimated 160,000 caregivers, spouses and dependents.
When my cousin was diagnosed at age 34, I witnessed her family’s struggle to cover her medical expenses and after two years to be approved for Medicare. These two years bankrupted the family financially and emotionally.
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Allowing these individuals to receive SSDI and timely Medicare Benefits would go a long way to easing the financial strains on families and state resources.
By cosponsoring the Huntington’s Disease Parity Act of 2013, members of Congress can show their support for not only for this family, but the nearly 1 million Americans who are touched by this terrible disease.
Align street redesign
Bike Durham, a local nonprofit organization working for bicycle-friendly change in Durham, is aware of the recent attention and discussion associated with the redesign plan for West Club Boulevard between Broad Street and Hillandale Avenue. We appreciate the efforts of the city to make roads safer and more accessible for multiple types of transportation users; however, we encourage a reevaluation of the design to ensure alignment with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans adopted in 2006.
Our organization broadly addresses the issue of street design within Durham in the policy paper, “Call for Standard Use of Complete Streets in Durham Road Design.” Bike Durham feels strongly that the implementation of a Complete Streets Plan is important to address the needs and safety of the community as a whole. We realize that this action will take time and that the city plans to update sections of road within Durham before that implementation is feasible.
As recently reported in the News & Observer, the neighborhoods that border Club Blvd have seen the largest increase in bike commuters in recent years.
Six percent of all commuters in these Durham neighborhoods travel to work on their bicycles, according to the 2012 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s more bike commuters than anywhere else in the Triangle except Carrboro – and a sharp increase since the 2000 census, when bike commuting here was pegged at 1 percent to 1.6 percent.
Until a Complete Streets Plan becomes the standard for road design in Durham, Bike Durham would like the city to align streets designs with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans. In the case of West Club Boulevard, this means revisiting and likely updating the design to meet the needs and safety concerns of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
The writers are the chair and vice chair of Bike Durham. This letter was originally sent to the city and is reprinted with permission.
Professional and caring
I have been on the Veterans Affairs rolls due to partial disability since being discharged from the military in 1974. Early last year I attempted to be seen at a VA hospital or clinic.
First I was told I didn’t have a high enough priority to get into the system. Then every tactic that has been reported was used to prevent my being given an appointment.
On the Monday after media exposure of the problems with the VA, I called and was immediately scheduled for an appointment. It only took me 15 months and nine days although I would probably still be calling a full voice-mail box without the help of the news media.
I will say that I agree with Dennis Rogers and the other people who have written concerning their treatment. The staff at the Durham VA has been very professional and caring, and I have been pleased with the treatment I have received.
Veterans will receive good care if they can ever get an appointment.