Friday, February 13, 2009

Support Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, which will be recognized this year from March 2 to 8, is just around the corner. Encourage your Representative to co-sponsor the MS Awareness Week bill (H. Con. Res. 14).

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9) introduced the House resolution on January 8 to formally recognize MS Awareness Week. Original co-sponsors include our congressional MS Caucus co-chairs Congressmen Russ Carnahan (MO-3) and Michael Burgess, M.D (TX-26).

The MS Awareness Week resolution supports the various goals of MS Awareness Week, which include: reaffirming our nation's commitment to combating MS, recognizing people living with MS, and saluting the health care professionals and medical researchers who continue to work towards a world free of MS. A piece of legislation so early in a new Congress helps demonstrate the collective level of support for the MS community.

Take Action Today!

  • Check the list below to see if your Representative is a co-sponsor.
  • If your Representative is not currently a co-sponsor, click here to send them a quick e-mail to ask for their support of this legislation.

The following is a list of current co-sponsors of the MS Awareness Week bill (H. Con. Res. 14):

  • Howard Berman (CA-28)
  • Roy Blunt (MO-7)
  • Madeleine Bordallo (GU)
  • Michael Burgess (TX-26)
  • Russ Carnahan (MO-3)
  • Kathy Castor (FL-11)
  • Steve Cohen (TN-9)
  • Tom Cole (OK-4)
  • Elijah Cummings (MD-7)
  • Danny Davis (IL-7)
  • Donna Edwards (MD-4)
  • Keith Ellison (MN-5)
  • Jo Ann Emerson (MO-8)
  • Barney Frank (MA-4)
  • Michael Honda (CA-15)
  • Patrick Kennedy (RI-1)
  • Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-15)
  • Peter King (NY-3)
  • Sander Levin (MI-12)
  • Eric Massa (NY-29)
  • Kevin McCarthy (CA-22)
  • Betty McCollum (MN-4)
  • Jim McDermott (WA-7)
  • James McGovern (MA-3)
  • John McHugh (NY-23)
  • Michael Michaud (ME-2)
  • Dennis Moore (KS-3)
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC)
  • Ed Pastor (AZ-4)
  • Collin Peterson (MN-7)
  • Laura Richardson (CA-37)
  • Allyson Schwartz (PA-13)
  • Jose Serrano (NY-16)
  • Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1)
  • Adam Smith (WA-9)
  • Ellen Tauscher (CA-10)
  • Henry Waxman (CA-30)
  • Frank Wolf (VA-10)
  • David Wu (OR-1)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Support a Stem Cell Executive Order

President Obama has indicated that he plans to overturn the funding restrictions for stem cell research by signing an Executive Order. Currently, under the policy set by President Bush, federal funding for stem cell research can only be applied to human embryonic stem cell lines derived prior to August 9, 2001. If President Obama signs an Executive Order, then many new funding opportunities will be available for stem cell projects because the current funding barriers will be removed.

Click here to send President Obama a quick message thanking him for his support of stem cell research.

The time is now to make this important change in policy. Because stem cells have the unique ability to develop into many different cell types in the body, they are of great value to scientists and researchers looking for new ways to help cure diseases.

Click here for more information on the current state of federal funding for stem cell research at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Health Care Programs Benefit in Economic Recovery Legislation

Congressional leaders have been working on legislation to help restore the nation's economy. The proposed economic stimulus package entitled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (HR. 1/S. 1) offers aid to domestic programs that are intended to spur the economy, job market, and help balance the nation's debt.

Many health care programs will benefit from passage of the stimulus package, including:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $3.5 billion of funding for projects including biomedical and stem cell research.
  • Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAP): All states will get at least a 4.9 percent increase under FMAP to help maintain Medicaid programs.
  • Health Information Technology (IT): $20 billion in funding to establish government standards for health IT programs by 2010, and includes financial incentives for participation and privacy and security protections.
  • COBRA Insurance: Expansion of coverage including a 65 percent subsidy covering premiums for up to 12 months.

The House voted in favor (243-185) of the bill last week, and the Senate is expected to vote on the legislation this week. There is still time to make a difference to help pass this necessary legislation.

Take Action Now!
Call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498 to encourage your Senator to vote in favor of the economic stimulus package, which includes programs that are important to health care.

The inclusion of these health care programs reinforces their importance to restoring the economy. People living with MS and other diseases can benefit from these necessary revisions to programs under this legislation.