Bilirakis-Led Bill Fighting Against Parkinson's Passes House

Bilirakis-Led Bill Fighting Against Parkinson's Passes House

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
December 18, 2023

Congressmen Gus Bilirakis’ (R-FL) and Paul Tonko’s (D-NY) legislation to fight against Parkinson’s disease has passed in the House of Representatives. The bill is formally known as the Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis and Honorable Jennifer Wexton National Plan to End Parkinson’s.

The first half of the bill’s title was named after Rep. Bilirakis' late brother. Dr. Emmanuel Bilirakis was a primary care physician who passed away due to Parkinson’s in May. The second half of the bill was named after Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), who deals with a rare neurodegenerative disease – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

The bill is “no-cost legislation” that will “unite experts in a public-private partnership to advance a national project for the purpose of preventing, treating, and ultimately curing Parkinson’s disease once and for all.”

According to Rep. Bilirakis’ press release, the legislation comes at a crucial time as discoveries have been made in the Parkinson’s research field. A new biomarker that can reveal “a key pathology” and lead to a better understanding of the disease.

“I will continue this fight in memory of my dear brother, other family members, and on behalf of all Americans who are still struggling with this debilitating disease,” said Congressman Bilirakis.  “It takes a terrible toll on the physical, emotional and economic well-being of everyone involved.  The lack of treatment options leave patients, families, and American taxpayers in a terrible quandary. We must change our approach to get better results, which is exactly what our legislation will do. It builds upon past successes and strives to replicate other national project models that have helped advance health care goals and treatment options.”

The Florida congressman concluded, “This critical legislation will provide hope to those who are suffering and hopefully lead to better patient outcomes with less expensive disease management.”

Rep. Tonko added that this bill was a “personal mission” done on behalf of those with Parkinson’s.

“In Congress, I have made helping those with neurological disorders one of my top priorities for more than a decade. I first learned about Parkinson’s from a friend who suffered with it,” said Congressman Tonko. “So when the opportunity arose to partner with Congressman Bilirakis on this meaningful effort I jumped right in and made it my personal mission to get this done on behalf of the millions of people living with Parkinson’s.”

Congressman Bilirakis represents Florida’s 12 Congressional District.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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