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Letter to Budget Conferees Urges Protection of Research and Programs Important to People with MS

November 26, 2013

As part of the deal to re-open the federal government and raise the debt ceiling limit, Congress established a bipartisan committee to seek a compromise on federal spending and deficit reduction. The committee has 29 members and held its first public meeting on October 30. Part of the committee’s conversation is whether and how to replace across-the-board spending cuts (known as “sequestration”) that started this year and are scheduled to continue for the next several years.

The Society recognizes the necessity of prudent government spending, but believes that reducing benefits and support for people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities could cause unintentional but irreparable harm to many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens and in some cases, simply shift expenses to states. The Society sent this letter to all budget conferees urging them to:
  • protect research funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) and at the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
  • to reject changes to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security that would directly or indirectly result in reduced access to and/or quality of services for eligible individuals,
  • to permanently repeal or at minimum temporarily delay the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula to avoid a significant cut to Medicare physicians, and
  • to extend the Medicare therapy cap exceptions process before its current deadline of December 31, 2013.
The committee has until December 13 to propose a new spending plan to Congress; then, Congress has until their January 15 deadline to either extend the current stopgap spending bill or complete the Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

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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