On the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff: Our Interests in the Debates

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The elections are behind us, and with the results now in hand, we can refocus our fight for basic research funding towards better treatments and eventually a cure for hydrocephalus.

One of the most important implications of the election for HA is that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can now be fully implemented
and will go into effect in 2014, resulting in better access to quality health care and strict prohibitions against discriminating against individuals with preexisting conditions. The new health care law also requires insurance companies to provide coverage for adult children up to 26 years of age.

This past Monday, Congress returned to Washington for a lame-duck session – a session where the Congress meets after an election where new members have been elected but before these new members begin their term in office. During this lame duck session, members of Congress will try to come to an agreement on spending cuts and expiring tax provisions. You may remember from our October blog post, in September the Senate passed a spending bill, or a continuing resolution (CR), for most government programs, including public health and research programs (such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH)). The new spending agreement is publicly available by clicking here. It increases funding for most programs by roughly 0.6 percent through March 27, 2013, in accordance with the Budget Control Act caps set last spring.

The new agreement did not address the across-the-board spending cuts (called “sequestration”) scheduled to take place before January 2013. Unless legislation to replace sequestration is passed by the Congress and signed by the President before January, many government programs will face at least a 7.8 percent cut, including $2.5 billion in critical research funding at the National Institutes of Health.

This is our time to make sure your Representatives in Washington understand how important research funding for better treatment and a cure is to you!

In January, the new members of Congress will be sworn in and begin their terms. Who is your current Senator and Representative? Did your member change? In January we will be asking everyone to send a “Welcome to Office” letter to all new representatives, sharing our stories and asking for their support.

Finally, If you are currently participating in Medicare or receive Medicaid, please read our blog from earlier this month, REMINDER: Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7th!, and visit our Medicare Open Enrollment information page under Support and Education.

 

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