Here is a quick run down of major issues being discussed by policymakers from an endocrine perspective and the Society’s current advocacy work. Let us know if you would like additional information or have any questions.
What’s Happening in Washington & What We Are Working On
House of Representatives Begins Consideration of FY 2020 Appropriations – On June 12, the House of Representatives began the long process of considering a package of FY 2020 spending bills, including the Labor-HHS bill that funds the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other public health and prevention programs of interest to endocrinology.
IF YOU HAVE NOT DONE SO YET, PLEASE TAKE A MINUTE TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR ONLINE ADVOCACY CAMPAIGNS URGING CONGRESS TO SUPPORT INCREASES FOR NIH AND TITLE X PROGRAMS. IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS HEAR FROM YOU.
The House will consider more than 100 amendments, including:
GOP amendments blocking Democrats from rolling back the Trump administration's Title X rule and conscience-rights rule
A Democratic amendment to spend $5 million on a campaign to fight anti-vaccine propaganda
multiple amendments from both sides of the aisle to fund new research and treatment programs addressing the opioid crisis
Democratic amendments requiring more information from the HHS refugee office on the deaths of migrant children in their custody and giving the agency an additional $10 million for their care
A Democratic amendment blocking the Trump administration's rule allowing the wider use of short-term health insurance plans
House debate is expected to spill into next week. Meanwhile, work in the Senate on its version of a spending bill has stalled as the Senate Republican leaders have not wanted to move forward without a deal on the spending caps with the House of Representatives. In a move signaling the Senate’s interest in advancing legislation and averting a government shutdown this fall, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), Chairman of the Appropriations Committee said that the Senate could “deem” a spending level in the coming days so it may proceed. Unfortunately, it has also been reported that the White House has issued a veto threat on the measure headed to the House floor, in a 13-page letter outlining various concerns with policy riders as well as overall funding levels that are nearly 7 percent, or $63 billion, above President Trump's request.
HHS Proposed Rule to Roll Back Transgender Protections Officially Released – The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released its proposed rule to roll back protections under the Affordable Care Act related to sex discrimination. The proposed rule would reverse an Obama-era policy that protected gender identify. Under the new proposed rule, which is subject to a 60-day comment period, a person’s sex would be considered their biological sex, rather than one’s internal gender identity. The Endocrine Society immediately condemned the administration rule when it was announced May 24 (see our press release) and we worked with 30 other healthcare organizations on a letter to HHS expressing deep concerns with the rule and reiterating our firm stance supporting transgender individuals’ access to care. We will prepare comments and submit by the August 14 deadline. If you are interested in helping us develop these comments, please contact Stephanie Kutler at email@example.com.
The Endocrine Society is hard at work advocating Congress to increase funding for NIH and Title X in FY2020.
It is critical that all members of Congress hear from YOU about why these issues are important!
Join our campaigns to urge Congress to support funding for reproductive health and the NIH!
Speaker Pelosi Alters Drug Price Proposal Amid Backlash – The inside scoop is that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is further revising a plan empowering the government to limit drug prices, following criticism from Democrats' progressive wing. Democratic leaders initially had outlined a plan that would mandate negotiation on at least 25 drugs, which progressives blasted as too tentative. What Pelosi wants now is for federal officials to target roughly 250 medicines for negotiation each year, although that may be more of a goal than requirement, which Progressives say is a move in the right direction. What's still not clear: Which drugs would be eligible for negotiation, or when Pelosi's plan will be ready. But don't expect it by the July 4 recess.
FDA Releases Statement on PFAS Saying No Safety Risk in Human Food - Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless, M.D., and Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannas released a statement on FDA’s scientific work to understand per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food, and findings from recent FDA surveys reporting that “Overall, our findings did not detect PFAS in the vast majority of the foods tested. In addition, based on the best available current science, the FDA does not have any indication that these substances are a human health concern, in other words a food safety risk in human food, at the levels found in this limited sampling.” We found the statement disappointing. While FDA says that for the vast majority of cases we should not worry about the food we eat, FDA had to take action against at least one farm in New Mexico that had PFAS level that were too high and for the majority of FDA’s studies, it includes a disclaimer along the lines of “This sample size is limited and cannot be used to draw definitive conclusions.”
Latest Endocrine Society Policy Communications:
Letter Supporting Representative Speier's Amendment on Contraceptive Coverage
The Endocrine Society joined a coalition letter to Chairman Adam Smith expressing support for Representative Speier's amendment to the FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act ensuring that non-active duty service members and military dependents have improved access to comprehensive contraceptive coverage and family planning care.
Fracture Prevention Coalition Thank You Letter
The Endocrine Society joined the Fracture Prevention Coalition to thank Representatives Larson, Walorski, Trahan, Sanchez, Brooks, and Marshall for sponsoring legislation to preserve access to osteoporosis testing for Medicare beneficiaries.