Advocacy

Advocacy in Action

November 20, 2020

Endocrine Society Prioritizes Funding for NIH and Extension of Special Diabetes Program During Lame Duck Congressional Session – Join Our Campaign Today

Congress faces 2 important deadlines on December 11: expiration of the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), which provides critical funding for research on Type 1 diabetes at the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and funding for prevention and treatment programs for Type 2 diabetes in the Alaskan Native/American Indian communities; and 2) expiration of federal funding for all federal agencies, including the NIH.

We are urging Congress to extend the SDP for five years and to support biomedical research by passing a final appropriations bill with a $2 billion increase for NIH and providing $15.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding to NIH before December 11.

We need all US researchers and clinicians to join our online campaign to help us advocate for an extension of the Special Diabetes Program and increased funding for research to influence the Congress.  Even if you participated in a campaign earlier, please take action now as Congress needs to address these issues in the coming weeks. Our online campaign will provide you with an email and direct it to your Representative and Senators when you provide your zip code.  Joining our online campaign will not take much time, but it will have significant impact as Members of Congress hear from constituents about these issues.

Negotiations on the FY 2021 funding bills continue between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) with both party leaders stating they are interested in reaching an agreement on final bill this year, rather than passing another short-term Continuing Resolution.  If they can reach agreement on a final funding bill, it would be likely that an extension of SDP would be attached to it; if they can only get a short-term bill passed, SDP would also only receive short-term funding.  The White House seems willing to sign a final appropriations bill after meeting with Republican congressional leaders this week. Again, this is why it is critical for us to keep the pressure on the Congress with our advocacy campaign.

In addition to our grassroots campaign, we continue to contact congressional leadership and targeted Members of Congress.  We recently met with Representative Kim Schrier (D-WA) who has Type 1 diabetes and is a strong advocate for research.  Endocrine Society President-Elect Carol Wysham urged her to share our message about the importance of extending SDP and funding NIH with the leadership of the House of Representatives.

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COVID-19 Relief Stalled by Administration and in Congress

While the media has reported that President Trump’s refusal to concede the election has slowed the incoming Biden Administration’s ability to respond to the virus, another issue is that partisan differences in the Congress have stalled negotiations on a COVID-19 relief bill.  

Lawmakers are becoming less confident a deal can be reached in the lame duck session -- with the focus instead turning to government spending negotiationthat must be finished by December 11 (see above). The divide between Republicans and Democrats continues to simmer over how much money each side is willing to spend. Democrats  including President-Elect Biden -- have urged Senate Republicans to pass House Democrats' Heroes Act, which totals more than $2 trillion. Republicans, meanwhile, have made it clear they are not willing to spend much north of $1 trillion.  

The Endocrine Society continues to advocate for provisions in a COVID-19 relief bill that would provide support for supplemental funding for researchers, support physician practices, and protect patients.

 

White House Expected to Propose a New Drug Pricing Rule

The Trump Administration is expected to propose a new rule based on a plan the President developed in 2018 to slash drug prices by basing Medicare reimbursement on international drug prices. The plan would let President Trump make good on his campaign promise to cut drug prices.  Many also speculate the proposal would enable the President to strike back at the drug industry who he believes slow-walked vaccine development until after the election to harm him politically.  

The plan, known as the most-favored nations rule, would link government payments for medicines to lower prices paid abroad. It could cut Medicare drug payments by as much as 30 percent, lopping off a chunk of pharmaceutical companies’ profits in one of their largest customer pools.

The President is poised to announce this rule as soon as this week, making it an interim final rule to avoid the months long process of releasing a draft and gathering public feedback. Interim final rules do not need to be preceded by proposed rules and take effect immediately, but there are drawbacks. The administration would need to prove that the rulemaking process would be “impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest." Drug lobbyists say the drug industry would almost certainly challenge an interim final rule in court. 

The Endocrine Society has been a vocal advocate for the need to address drug price increases and to make sure consumers have access to affordable insulin.  We have met with the Trump Administration to share our recommendations for how to do this effectively and we shared our recommendations with the Biden campaign and with the Congress.

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Join us in lending your voice to our online advocacy to support our policy priorities, endocrinology, and science. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

Join us in lending your voice to our online advocacy to support our policy priorities, endocrinology, and science. Contact your U.S representatives or European Members of Parliament through our online platform. Take action and make a difference today.

Member Spotlight

Ameliorating Heath Disparities

Dr. Corsino's work focuses on diabetes and related conditions with a special interest in ameliorating heath disparities.

Leonor Corsino, MD, MHS

Dr. Corsino's work focuses on diabetes and related conditions with a special interest in ameliorating heath disparities.

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