Leaders need to avoid putting cost above hope

To the editor:

As our government leaders debate proper use of available funds, I am hopeful that medical research always receives full support from our elected officials. This important research is in place to create better quality of life for individuals struggling with assorted medical issues and to save lives. Pennsylvania’s leaders must encourage more medical research, especially supporting study into ALS and Parkinson’s.

As a brother to a sibling living with Parkinson’s and someone having other family members who struggled with the same disease, as well as having a mother who passed away from ALS, I can tell you first-hand what new treatments for these ghastly diseases would mean to the tens of thousands of families they affect.

Over the past 30 years, since my mother’s initial diagnosis, it has become clear to me that the path to new treatments for Parkinson’s and ALS starts with our elected leaders in Washington because it is incumbent on Congress to create an environment for pharmaceutical researchers to flourish.

There is no denying that our healthcare system is broken, and Congress must make changes to ensure that patients can afford their medications, but it is also of equal importance that officials continue to prioritize medical innovation that may one day lead to cures for diseases like ALS and Parkinson’s. At the end of the day, innovation is hope for families like mine, and the last thing we want to do is prioritize cost over hope.

Kevin Cunningham