FY 2013 Funding: Threats of Cuts, Sequester & Government ShutdownThe major issue before Congress now is the process of drafting funding legislation for FY 2013. Always controversial, this year the funding process appears even more partisan. Discretionary programs like the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/biomedical research face significant cuts, the threat of a sequester (across the board cuts for all domestic and defense programs) continues, and some are even talking about the possibility of a government shutdown. To protect the NIH and biomedical research from funding cuts, ASH is enhancing its efforts and urges all of its members to join in its advocacy activities. Below please find links to the latest news and information; most importantly, it is critical that all Members of Congress hear from their constituents about the impact that inadequate funding has on medical research, so please click the link to the ASH Advocacy Center to contact your Representative and Senators.
President Obama Signs FDA Bill on User Fee Programs & Drug Shortages; ASH Advocacy SuccessfulOn July 9, President Barack Obama signed The Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act into law. The final legislation, also known as the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), includes provisions to mitigate drug shortages, which ASH advocated. In addition to addressing drug shortages, the new law creates user fee programs for generic drugs and generic biologic drugs, or biosimilars, and includes provisions that focus on the safety of the drug supply chain, among other issues. ASH's comprehensive summary of the drug shortage provisions in the bill can be found on the Society's Website. The Society thanks all of the ASH Members whose participation in the Society's drug shortage advocacy campaigns was key to this successful outcome. Read more.
Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Health Reform LawOn June 28, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) by a 5-4 decision. The majority opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined Justices Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg, determines that the individual mandate is constitutional because it is a tax. The Supreme Court further decided that the federal government cannot withhold existing Medicaid funding to states as punishment for states that do not comply with the expansion requirements. Because the PPACA is constitutional, thousands of individuals with hematologic disorders will continue to benefit from the patient protections currently in effect, such as the elimination of lifetime limits on benefits, extension of dependent coverage to age 26, and elimination of pre-existing conditions exclusions for children. Read more.
Get Involved! Participate in a Town Hall Meeting with Your Senators and RepresentativeWith a contentious election season swinging into gear, Senators and Representatives running for office have begun to host town hall meetings. These town hall meetings provide an excellent opportunity to educate candidates and policy makers about the importance of funding for NIH and the role this funding plays in understanding, preventing, treating, and curing blood diseases and conditions. All Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents about the need to adequately fund NIH and ASH strongly encourages its members to participate in a town hall meeting to communicate with legislators. ASH has provided a listing of upcoming town halls at www.hematology.org/townhall. This list will be updated weekly with new listings as they become available.
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