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Key MS Policy Priorities Funded for FY 2020

December 20, 2019

On December 20, 2019, the President signed funding bills passed by Congress earlier this week. These funding bills provide the funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

MS Activists' work throughout the year resulted in significant increases for MS funding priorities. These increases include:
  • $16 million for the MS Research Program at the Department of Defense - an over $10 million increase from FY 2019.
  • $6.1 million to the Lifespan Respite program - an over $2 million increase from FY 2019. These grants to states maximize existing resources and better coordinate and deliver quality respite services to family caregivers.
  • $41.7 billion to the National Institutes of Health to fund biomedical research - a $2.6 billion increase from FY 2019.
The National Neurologic Conditions Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention received $5 million in funding to continue implementation of the MS and Parkinson’s Disease pilots

These bills also included other important priorities benefiting people living with and affected by MS:
  • The Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is reauthorized until 2029. PCORI has funded approximately $70 million in MS research to help determine what treatments work best for whom, under what circumstances. 
  • The Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act of 2019 (CREATES) Act was signed into law, which makes it easier for generic drug companies to obtain samples of brand-named products needed to create generics. 
  • A temporary (five month) re-authorization of two Medicaid demonstration programs that would otherwise expire: 
    • The Money Follows the Person Program which helps people get the Home & Community-based Services in the setting of their choice, and
    • The Spousal Impoverishment Program, which protects a portion of a couples’ income and assets for the needs of the “well spouse” that would otherwise be used to pay for the nursing home care of the other spouse.
  • Manual complex wheelchair exemption from the Medicare competitive bidding process that protects access to this important equipment.
Additionally, Congress attached a large tax cut to the spending bill.  This measure included a temporary 2-year extension of the 7.5% threshold for the medical expense deduction. 

To find out more about the Society’s advocacy priorities, please click here.

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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