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Budget Bill Boosts Funding for NIH, FDA & SSA; Protects Funding for Other Programs

May 4, 2017

Congress has passed and the President is expected to sign a bipartisan spending bill to fund to the federal government and its programs through September 30 (for the remainder of fiscal year [FY] 2017). The bill boosts funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Social Security Administration (SSA), with funding for other programs generally remaining at the same levels.
NIH, the nation’s premier biomedical research institution, is slated to receive a total of $34.1 billion which is a $2-billion increase from last year. More specifically, the bill allocates: 
  • $352 million for the 21st Century Cures Act 
  • $120-million increase for Precision Medicine 
  • $110-million increase for BRAIN Initiatives
Funding for these initiatives will help expedite the discovery of more successful treatments for people with MS and a cure for all forms of the disease. 

The bill provides the FDA—the agency responsible for reviewing and approving all drugs and medical devices—with a $42-million increase for a total of $2.771 billion in FY17.

The bill includes a $319-million increase for SSA (for a total of $12.481 billion) which is critical for allowing people with MS to access disability benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and reduce the waiting period for them to do so.
The bill also maintains funding for some other important programs: 
  • The MS Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), a program that funds innovative research for MS, receives $6 million—maintaining the $1 million increase achieved in 2016. 
  • The Lifetime Respite Care Program—which provides grants to states to better coordinate and deliver quality respite services to caregivers—will receive $3.36 billion—maintaining the $1 million increase achieved in 2016. 
Lastly, the bill decreases funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) by $10 million to a total $324 million. Funding for AHRQ was also reduced last year; these reductions will likely continue to impact the agency’s ability to collect health care and patient safety and outcome research.

The voices of MS activists were important in increasing and protecting funding for these critical programs and initiatives. These programs and services and research funding help people with MS live their best lives and will help us stop MS in its tracks, restore what has been lost and end MS forever. 

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. 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. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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