Having worked with Sen. Susan Collins since 2001 to ensure federal resources support Duchenne muscular dystrophy research and standards of care, I have seen bio-techs and pharmaceutical companies move into the rare disease space, developing treatments for this disorder. Additionally, people living with the condition are experiencing better quality of life and longevity because of improved medical care.

Duchenne is a serious and disabling condition, and many people who have muscular dystrophy rely on Medicaid for health care coverage. The Senate Better Care Reconciliation Act puts that program in jeopardy, leading me to contact Sen. Collins and Sen. Angus King to vote against its passage.

The act also adds to patient burden by removing protections for people with pre-existing conditions and other essential benefits. My contention is any benefit the efforts Sen. Collins championed for nearly two decades and more recently supported by Sen. King would fail to reach the majority of patients. I am pleased both have agreed this legislation fails in improving access to health care and will not support its passage. I believe Americans would be better served with efforts to contain healthcare costs for consumers and providers and deal with fraud.

I appreciate having access to our Maine delegation and the hardworking staff in their offices who I communicate with regularly about issues important to my family. I have a longer relationship with Sen. Collins and her staff and am grateful for their help, yet have equal appreciation for Sen. King and his team. Both senators have taken time to understand appropriate ways federal agencies can help change outcomes for people living with serious health conditions and listened to my appeals concerning legislation putting those same efforts at risk.

On behalf of my family and others in Maine living with Duchenne, I thank Sen. Collins and Sen. King.

Brian Denger