Congress adjourned for the August recess following a productive legislative session during which legislators advanced a number of medical research and patient care priorities. Most notably, both the House and Senate have drafted respective Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (LHHS) Appropriations Bills. The House proposal calls for a $1 billion funding increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) along with deep spending cuts to other research and public health agencies. The Senate proposal has a more generous $2 billion funding increase for NIH with corresponding increases for clinical and translational research programs. However, the Senate’s FY 2016 LHHS Bill also balances funding increase for NIH against deep cuts to other agencies at the Department of Health and Human Services.
With the presidential campaign season in full swing, election politics have entered the legislative process. Recently, both the House and Senate have struggled to deal with controversial issues that have stymied high-profile bills. In fact, at this time, the FY 2016 LHHS bills are viewed more as partisan politics than public policy. There is a growing expectation that when lawmakers return in the fall and sustained effort will be made to construct a budget deal that adds additional funding to the FY 2016 appropriations bills. Complicating the situation though is divisive saber-rattling, including talks of shutting down the government to call attention to highly-polarizing legislative priorities.
The patient care community continues to advocate for meaningful funding FY 2016 increase for NIH and related programs. There efforts will culminate with stakeholders on Capitol Hill on September 17th to participate in the Rally for Medical Research
. During this event, advocates from across the country will ask their legislators to end sequester-cuts and increase funding for all federal medical research and healthcare programs.
Just ahead of the Rally for Medical Research
, AANEM advocates will be visiting Capitol Hill to join the community’s call to action for ensuring optimal patient care. During this event, we will educate legislators about EDX medicine, ask for their support of research funding, and raise awareness of critical patient care issues in the field.
Further advancing our advocacy mission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has agreed to meet with a contingent of patient care advocates to discuss ensuring access while delivering optimal care in EDX medicine. AANEM will be leading this group of stakeholders in a robust discussion with CMS to divine a new (and hopefully collaborative) path forward to improve the delivery of EDX services to patients with disabling, progressive, and sometimes life-threatening medical conditions. We look forward to providing you with an update on this meeting and our ongoing efforts with CMS on this issue.