Please read this article. It discusses many of the activities underway to gain support for MS funding. Unfortunately, the links did not copy as I hoped they would. They can be found on the National MS Society Homepage.
National MS Society Homepage:
Sign Up to Be an MS Activist
In direct response to MS Activists requests during our recent Public Policy Conference, twenty members of the House of Representatives and four members of the Senate joined the Congressional MS Caucus, bring total membership to 150 U.S. Representatives and 30 U.S. Senators. To see if your members are on the MS Caucus, go to this webpage. Many thanks to everyone who helped recruit these elected officials!
Ask Your Senators to Support MS Research Funding
Amazing progress has been made over the last twenty years toward better understanding MS and in developing effective MS therapies. Over the past few years, $20 million has been allocated to MS research through the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). Congress first allocated a distinct funding stream for MS research in the CDMRP in Fiscal Year 2009 in response to MS activists’ impressive advocacy. Please take a few minutes today to email your Senators to help ensure the continuation of this vital research funding.
The CDMRP funds high-risk, high-reward research that complements the important basic research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CDMRP is also peer reviewed—which means that people active in the MS research community gauge the merits of research applications and help to determine which projects get funded. Peer reviewers for the MS-related applications include people living with MS.
To promote continued research innovation and momentum, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Mike Johanns (NE) have circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter on Capitol Hill. This letter will be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee that decides how much funding this particular program receives so the more support, the better. Click here to email your Senators and ask them to indicate their support for MS research funding by signing this Dear Colleague letter.
Support for Funding for the MS Community as the Federal Budget Process Starts
Over the past month, the Society has worked with champions on Capitol Hill to gather support for our 2012 priorities—funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funding for the Lifespan Respite Care Program that supports family caregivers, and funding for MS research in the CDMRP. MS activists sent over 7,000 emails to Capitol Hill and visited over 370 offices on the Society’s annual Hill Day. This fantastic advocacy helped garner support from 155 members of the House of Representatives and 47 members of the Senate for a recommendation of at least $32 billion for the NIH in Fiscal Year 2013. In addition, 33 Representatives and 7 Senators agreed to support $5 million for the Lifespan Respite Care Program. And while the Senate CDMRP Dear Colleague is still circulating, 68 Representatives have already indicated their support for $10 million for MS research in the CDMRP. The Society thanks Sens. Casey and Burr and Reps. Bilbray, Markey, Langevin, Burgess and Carnahan for leading these efforts.
Congressional hearings on the budget have been and will continue to occur and some committees will soon start “marking up” appropriations bills. The House passed a budget resolution but it is not expected to advance in the Senate. In the past few years, Congress has not completed budget work by the intended deadline of October 1. Also, because it is an election year, odds of hitting that target are not high. The Society will continue to weigh in as the federal budget process continues to ensure that the voice of the MS community is heard.
Supreme Court Considers the Affordable Care Act
Over the course of three days in late March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a total of six and a half hours of oral arguments on four major challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Analyses of the arguments and speculation about the court’s upcoming ruling are now a major focus of journalists, political pundits and editorial pages across the country. Check the Kaiser Health News diagram for information about the arguments.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society will continue to actively support health reform implementation as it relates to the needs of people with MS. The Society’s Principles for Health Care Reform were adopted in 2008 and continue to shape our implementation efforts. Additionally, as history of the U.S. health system illustrates, evolutions in health care occur with or without federal reform law, and it is our belief that responsible activism is needed to take best advantage of opportunities for positive change in the interests of people with MS.
Be a ‘Social Media’ MS Activist
The Public Policy Office recently established a Twitter account and posts real time information about activities and policies impacting those with MS and various news items relevant to MS, health care, and other pertinent issues. Follow the office @MSActivist. Please also sign up on the MS Activist Blog. Being informed is critical to advancing policies that will help people with MS!