Friday, October 26, 2012


Medicare Settlement – Victory for MS patients.  The Society was a plaintiff in litigation against Medicare alleging that it illegally denied services to Medicare beneficiaries with MS and other chronic illnesses by misinterpreting the law.  A settlement agreement has been reached and you can read more about it in this New York Times article and you can read the Society’s statement here.  The Society joined as a plaintiff in this action following approval by the Society’s Board of Directors in November, 2010.

Next Edition.  The next Federal Fridays will be on November 9 and we will know who the Commander in Chief will be and the make-up of the House and Senate.  While there is a lot of chatter about what will happen with sequestration, tax increases, and the ‘fiscal cliff,’ it’s really all speculation – once the voters have spoken, then the real assessments of what is possible will begin.  However already liberal groups and labor are preparing for battle . . . but not with the GOP, with Obama and the Democrats.

Week of Research Advocacy.  Our partner Research America is leading a week of advocacy for medical research November 12-16, 2012 in a concentrated effort to let Congress know that cutting research funding is the wrong approach.  More details at

Science/Election Resources.  There have recently been several items pertaining to science and the presidential election.  NPR had this story about science being a ‘non-issue’ in 2012; the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has posted responses to science questions posed to Obama and Romney; and finally, fourteen of the "The Top American Science Questions: 2012" were posed to both presidential candidates by ScienceDebate.Org.

$1.7 Trillion in Savings under GOP Medicaid planPlans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and turn Medicaid into a block grant program would save the federal government $1.7 trillion from 2013 to 2022, a 38-percent spending reduction, according to a report today by the Urban Institute for the Kaiser Family Foundation.  While the savings sounds great, it comes at a significant cost:  31 million to 38 million fewer people would have Medicaid coverage in 2022 and the program (it currently serves around 62 million people, half of whom are children).

Kennedy on CRPD.  Longtime champion for the disabled, Ted Kennedy Jr., penned this piece for Politico, advocating for Senate ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  To date, members of the Society’s Action Alert list have sent over 7,500 messages about CRPD to their United States Senators – this is fantastic engagement!

FDA extends review time of new MS drug.  The Food and Drug Administration has extended the time it will take to consider Biogen’s new MS therapy.  They indicate that they simply need more time.

MS Therapies to double by 2021.  Decision Resources finds that, through 2021, the number of disease-modifying therapies approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) will double in the world’s major pharmaceutical markets.

NIH Funding Update.  After the president signed the Continuing Resolution (to keep the government operating) the National Institutes of Health issued a statement saying it would fund research projects ‘up to 90%’ of the previously committed level.

25 Women to Watch.  The Hill compiled its list of 25 women to watch on the hill including obvious picks like Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

LIHEAP Funding Risk.  With the threat of automatic spending cuts looming, there has been a call for the release of all Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds so the money doesn’t get stuck in any upcoming budget logjam. 

Kaiser Permanente CEO interview.  George Halverson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, is interviewed about the health system, Kaiser, and the future.  Halverson recently announced plans to retire.

That’s it for now!  For those on the East Coast, quite a storm heading your way – be safe.  And remember to vote everyone!

No comments: