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Congress Passes FY 2018 Budget

March 29, 2018

On Friday, March 23rd, 2018 President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. The $1.29 trillion FY 2018 federal spending package (“Omnibus”) funds the government through the end of the current federal fiscal year, which expires September 30, 2018. This includes many programs, services and research that are important to people affected by MS. 

The bill represents a nearly 10% increase in overall funding compared to FY 2017. The Omnibus provides:
  • National Institutes of Health: $37 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a $3 billion increase from FY 2017. While the increase in NIH funding is needed – much of the FY 2018 budget increases have been pre-allocated specifically for opioid research. We hope to see these increases maintained in NIH’s base funding level in future years.
  • MS Research Program (MSRP) and the Department of Defense (DoD): Maintained $6 million in funding for FY 2018, the same as FY 2017. The MSRP is a peer-reviewed program that funds high-impact, high-reward research.
  • Lifespan Respite Care Program: $4.1 million in funding compared to 3.36 million in FY 2017, an increase of over $700,000. Lifespan Respite provides grants to states to better coordinate and deliver respite services to our nation’s more than 40 million family caregivers—including MS caregivers.  
Despite significant support from the Society and other organizations, the omnibus did NOT provide or address the following:
  • National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System (NNCSS) at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC): While the 21st Century Cures law authorized creation of a national system to track incidence, prevalence and other important data related to neurological conditions, the Centers for Disease Control cannot implement the system without dedicated funding from Congress. This program was not funded in the FY 2018 budget, but advocacy will continue to achieve funding in the FY 2019 budget.
  • Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act: This bill would prohibit brand pharmaceutical manufacturers from using safety programs/restricted access programs as a way to prevent generic or biosimilar manufacturers from purchasing samples to understand how the medication works (and create a generic, lower-cost product). This bill was not included in the FY 2018 budget.
  • Market Stabilization: Without market stabilization, the nearly 12 million Americans—including 6-8% of people with MS—currently relying on the marketplace could lose their only affordable option for health insurance. Congress failed to pass bipartisan legislation to help stabilize the individual insurance market. 
Learn more about the 2018 policy priorities that the National MS Society will continue to advocate for. 

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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