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Society Responds to Senate Health Coverage Vote

July 28, 2017

The National MS Society is relieved that the health legislation being considered by the U.S. Senate was stopped. These proposals are bad policy and bad for patients. While improvements to our current health insurance system are needed, the House-passed American Health Care Act and Senate’s Health Care Freedom Act would have caused 16 million people to lose coverage and increased costs for people with chronic, complex conditions. For months, MS activists and the Society—alongside other patient and disability advocacy organizations—through hundreds of meetings and thousands of messages have been expressing our desires for health reform legislation and concerns with the proposals. Despite these efforts, legislation was produced behind closed doors without meaningful opportunity for stakeholder input.

“Today’s vote in the U.S. Senate is a clear indication that this is the wrong approach for people living with MS,” says Bari Talente, Executive Vice President of Advocacy. “Now is the time for Congress to work together in a bipartisan fashion to make improvements to our nation’s health insurance system that will help—not hurt—people with chronic, complex conditions.” The Society looks forward to working with Congress to ensure insurance market stability and improved access to affordable, comprehensive coverage.

The U.S. Senate has postponed consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which reauthorizes the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, including the MS Research Program (MSRP) within the Department of Defense (DoD).

You can contact your U.S. Senators to ask them to support the Durbin-Blunt Amendment to the NDAA.  This Amendment will remove language that threatens the MS Research Program. Without this amendment, the NDAA very narrowly defines criteria and places unnecessary and burdensome red-tape acquisition compliance and auditing requirements on research programs within the DoD, which would include high-risk and high gain MS research projects – projects that may not be funded elsewhere.  

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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