The National MS Society’s annual Public Policy Conference kicked off on a high note with major changes made to stem cell research funding. On March 9, President Obama signed an executive order to repeal the former administration’s policy that limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research. Click here to read the Society’s statement.
On March 11, hundreds of multiple sclerosis activists from across the nation joined together and met with their legislators on Capitol Hill. The conference was a great success and demonstrates how activists' collective efforts help shape policies and improve the lives of people living with MS.
This year, MS activists promoted three key issues of importance to the MS community: MS research funding in the CDMRP; MS & Parkinson’s Disease Registry; and, comprehensive health care reform.
Read more on these three issues below:
Increase MS research funding in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP)
More than 400,000 people in the U.S. live with MS but recently federal funding for research has gone down. Emerging evidence indicates a potential link between combat service and an increased incidence of MS. In FY 2009, Congress provided $5 million for an MS Research Program in the CDMRP.
While this seed money is a great start, the overwhelming number of recent grant submissions demonstrates a clear need for additional research funding. Ask your members of Congress to sign onto a letter being circulated by Congressman Russ Carnahan (MO) and Michael Burgess, M.D. (TX) and Senators Sherrod Brown (OH) and Jim Bunning (KY) asking for $15 million for MS research in the CDMRP.
Click here to read the CDMRP position paper.
Support the National MS and Parkinson's Disease Registries Act (H.R. 1362)
Accurate knowledge and information about incidence and prevalence is critical to gain a better understanding of MS and Parkinson's disease. These registries could help uncover and inform promising areas of research such as genetic and environmental risk factors and support the discovery of new disease therapies. Ask your members of Congress to support the National MS and Parkinson's Disease Registries Act (H.R. 1362), which would establish separate MS and Parkinson's disease registries at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Click here to read the registry position paper.
Support Comprehensive Health Care Reform
Too many people with MS do not have access to care, and too many people with MS cannot afford their medications or other treatments. Urge your members of Congress to support comprehensive health care reform in the 111th Congress, and ask them to ensure this reform meets the needs of people with chronic conditions and disabilities.
The National MS Society's Health Care Reform Principles call for the elimination of Medicare's 24 month disability waiting period, long term care support and services, the elimination of provisions that discriminate against pre-existing conditions, among many others. Comprehensive health care reform is a necessary component and an important step to helping store our nation's economy.
Click here to read the health care reform position paper.
Talk to your legislators about theses issues. Call the Capitol switchboard at 1-800-828-0498 to be connected.