The Committee on Appropriations in the U.S. House of Representatives just passed their fiscal year 2021 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) appropriations bill. This legislation season includes funding for several programs and agencies critical to lupus research and education including $8.5 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the House has suggested $2 million for the Lupus Program in the Office of Minority Health, and overall the National Institutes of Health would receive $47 billion.
The NIH is the largest public funder of lupus in the world and would receive an increase of $5 billion should this legislation go through.
Big Deal for National Lupus Patient Registry
If this legislation is enacted into law, the total funding for the National Lupus Patient Registry would equal $80 million since the Foundation and lupus advocates led efforts to establish the CDC’s program in 2003. Since that time, the Registry has funded research into every aspect of lupus, and advanced the understanding about who gets lupus and how it affects them, the natural history of the disease, and the burden of treatment on people living with lupus.
$2m to the Office of Minority Health
If enacted, this legislation would direct $2 million into the Office of Minority Health and their National Lupus Training, Outreach, and Clinical Trial Program to be used to launch a new multi-year grant cycle with goals to “reduce lupus-related health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations disproportionately affected by lupus and also to boost minority participation in lupus-related clinical trials.”
The following individuals have been champions in the Congressional Lupus Caucus:
· Bill Keating (D-MA)
· Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
· Peter King (R-NY)
· Rita Lowey (D-NY)
· Kay Granger (R-TX)
The Lupus Foundation of America thanks their nationwide network of lupus advocates who never miss an opportunity to raise their voice in support of policies and programs like these that are critical to the lupus fight.
Call to Action: The Committee’s LHHS bill now moves to the full House of Representatives for consideration later this month. Additionally, tomorrow the Committee is expected to advance its fiscal year 2021 Department of Defense funding bill, which includes $10 million for the Lupus Research Program. The Senate Committee on Appropriations has yet to begin working on its version of either bill.