The ARC Act — A Bipartisan Effort to Prevent PAD-Related Amputations
Too many of us know people in our communities who’ve had amputations for conditions such as Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, fibrous tissue, and other substances in the blood. (Peripheral Artery Disease, a potentially life threatening disease where plaque, like calcium, builds up along blood vessel walls, narrowing the arteries and reducing blood flow to the legs and feet.). The procedure is all-too common, especially in minority populations.47 But there is hope — with screening and treatment options that can help prevent amputations. Congressional leaders are also trying to make these options accessible to more people.
A proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, called the To surgically remove all or part of a limb (leg, foot or toe) Reduction and Compassion (ARC) Act, would boost coverage of services to help Americans avoid losing their toes, feet and legs due to PAD.
What is the ARC Act?
An estimated 20 million Americans have PAD41–43. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the serious risks posed by the disease. Regular screenings are uncommon, resulting in more than 160,000 PAD-related amputations every year.47.
Racial and ethnic minorities are especially at risk. Black Americans and Native Americans are approximately two times more likely than White Americans to experience a nontraumatic amputation due to PAD. Hispanics are up to 50% more likely to have an amputation.47,62.
But things would change if the ARC Act becomes a law. It would mandate:
- Medicare, Medicaid and group health insurance plans to fully cover costs for PAD screening tests for at-risk beneficiaries
- Arterial testing prior to non-traumatic amputations to determine if there are alternative intervention options to amputation
- Funding for a PAD educational initiative for healthcare professionals and the public about methods to reduce amputations and at-risk populations
With this important legislation, the hope is to reduce the number of amputations that result from advanced PAD.
The ARC Act Legislative Process
The ARC Act bill is sponsored by Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ) and originally co-sponsored by Representatives Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Bobby L. Rush (D-IL), Mark Takano (D-CA), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Katie Porter (D-CA), Darren Soto (D-FL), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Albio Sires (D-NJ).
Payne, Jr. has long supported bipartisan efforts to reduce PAD-related amputations. He co-founded the PAD Caucus in April 2019 with Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). Payne, Jr. hopes to raise awareness of PAD and include it in federal government healthcare priorities going forward.
“PAD is treatable, if we catch it early,” Payne, Jr. said in a statement. “Medicare and Medicaid treat our most vulnerable citizens. We need to allow these two critical programs to support medical professionals and patients and not cut critical funding that could cause Americans to lose their limbs.”
For More Information and How You Can Support the ARC Act
You can make a difference! Help move the ARC Act legislation forward by clicking here to ask your lawmaker to co-sponsor the ARC Act.