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Myeloma Advocacy Update - January 31, 2010
Progress in passing health care reform legislation has significantly slowed. Congressional leaders are currently determining how to pass this important legislation as well as what a final package might look like and what the timing might be.

IMF Campaign on Health Reform
IMF is leading a campaign calling on Congress to retain a sharp focus on critical elements of health reform. Essential issues of immediate importance to patients should not be lost in partisan battles:

  • Affordable access to basic and catastrophic health care coverage for as many Americans as possible.
  • The elimination of "pre-existing conditions" as a barrier to health care coverage.
  • The elimination of annual and lifetime caps on insurance coverage.
  • Closing of the Medicare "donut hole."
  • Continued investment in research and innovation to address the needs of those with all deadly diseases.

To show your support for this position, please contact your Congressional Representative and Senators, share these priorities with friends and colleagues, and watch this space for more action items.

Just click here and enter your zip code next to Abraham Lincoln in the "Contact Congress" button and write to ALL of your representatives with one click! Join our efforts. It's easy!

Congress Continues to Work on Health Reform
Since the election of Senator elect Scott Brown (R-MA), progress in passing health care reform legislation has significantly slowed.  Congressional leaders are currently determining how to pass this important legislation as well as what a final package might look like and what the timing might be. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated she does not have the votes to pass the Senate passed version of health care reform. Current options being considered include only passing legislation that excludes the controversial provisions of health care reform as well as passing health care reform using the budget reconciliation process which would only require a simple majority and is filibuster proof in the Senate. 

While IMF has not taken an official position on the House and Senate passed legislation, IMF has been monitoring a couple of provisions that impact myeloma patients including the closing of the Medicare “donut hole” and the inclusion of the Brown-Hutchison clinical trials amendment in the final bill.  IMF endorsed the Brown-Hutchison amendment.   Our House and Senate champions on clinical trials coverage remain fully committed to aggressively pursuing the provision in whatever form health reform takes.

President Releases Federal Budget on February 1, 2010
On Monday, February 1st, the President will release his budget for fiscal year (FY) 2011.  In light of recent statements from the President on fiscal restraint during the State of the Union address, we expect a majority of the programs that IMF supports could be flat-funded or worse sustain cuts.  An analysis of the President’s budget will be included in the next issue of the Myeloma Advocacy Update. 

Cancer Research, Early Detection, Prevention, and Treatment
In 2009, former Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced S 717, the 21st Century Cancer Access to Life-Saving Early Detection, Research, and Treatment (ALERT) Act.  This legislation is an update to the National Cancer Act of 1971.  The ALERT Act was put on hold for health care reform and the death of Senator Kennedy.  Senator Hutchison is committed to moving this legislation and will be teaming up with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to move the ALERT Act following passage of health care reform legislation.  Additionally, Representative Lois Capps (D-CA) has voiced interest in introducing the House companion to the ALERT Act. 

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