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Advocacy Update - October 15, 2011
10.15.11

October 15, 2011

Advocates in Action

Missouri – Kansas City resident Jon Killip, DDS, met with Jennifer Shapiro in Representative Emanuel Cleaver’s office in DC about HR 2746, the Cancer Coverage Parity Act of 2011. They talked through the talking points provided by the Advocacy team and John shared his experience with myeloma. Jennifer assured him that she would share the information with Rep. Cleaver and ask his support of the bill.  

Trenton, New Jersey – Thank you to Elizabeth Bilotti, RN, MSN, APRN, BC at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center and member of the IMF Nurse Leadership Board. Elizabeth provided oral testimony on 10/13 to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee in support of A.2666/S.1834, a bill that would require equal coverage for orally administered chemotherapy and intravenous and injected chemotherapy. 

We are happy to report that because of Elizabeth’s testimony, the bill passed through the committee unanimously! It will now move on to a full Senate vote sometime in November.  

Lawrenceville, New Jersey – Cynthia Chmielewski, member of the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking group met with Representative Rush Holt’s Legislative Health Aide in late September regarding HR 2746, the Cancer Coverage Parity Act of 2011. The aide was receptive, asked a couple of questions, and promised to relay everything to Rep. Holt. Cynthia answered her questions in a follow up email.  Rep. Holt serves on the Health, Employment, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Subcommittee, to which the bill has been referred.

Thank you John, Elizabeth, and Cynthia for your initiative and hard work!

Happenings on the Hill

Senate Trims NIH Funding While House Increases Research Funding
The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bill to fund the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2012.  The bill would provide funding for NIH in FY 2012 at the level of $30.5 billion – a $190 million (0.62%) reduction from FY 2011 levels.  The National Cancer Institute (NCI) budget is $5.001 billion under the bill, a cut of $58 million (1.2 percent).  While this is concerning, the Senate bill does, in large part, include funding for the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN) at a level of $20 million.  While the NIH budget took a hit in the Senate bill, the cancer programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are held flat at FY11 levels.  

In stark contrast to the Senate bill, the House Appropriations Committee released its version of the FY 2012 Labor-HHS (LHHS) appropriations bill recently.  The draft House bill would increase funding for the NIH by $1 billion over FY 2011 (3.5%), bringing the NIH budget to $31.74 billion.  This amount includes nearly $5.2 billion for the NCI, a $138 million increase (2.7%) over FY 2011.

While the bill does not include specific details on the CDC cancer programs, it does indicate how much money would go toward Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion which is the category that includes the cancer control programs.  Under the House bill, chronic disease funding at the CDC would be cut by more than $112 million (13.8 percent).  We do not know how this cut would be distributed, but such a significant cut to chronic disease funding would likely be very damaging to the cancer control programs.

For more information about the legislation listed above or any other IMF advocacy initiative, contact IMF’s Director of Government Relations, Christine Murphy at cmurphy@myeloma.org or 703-738-1498.


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