March 2018 has been a whirlwind. We’ve seen advocates coast to coast showing up to events that promote awareness, encourage screenings, and push for better policies for patients and their families. As the leader for advocacy in the colorectal community, we are particularly proud of the victories our advocates accomplished on the Hill and beyond. Your stories resonated in the halls of Congress and made an unquestionable impact. The results speak for themselves.
OVER $3 BILLION FOR RESEARCH
For months, Congress has been kicking the can down the road, so to speak, when it comes to funding the federal government. This uncertainty has caused a multitude of problems for federal agencies and programs that provide essential services for colorectal cancer patients and the screening-eligible population.
At Call-on Congress, we armed 150 advocates with this information and our legislative asks. On March 20, Fight CRC advocates from 33 states engaged in over 160 Congressional meetings, 120 of which were with members of Congress or senior staff. They shared their concerns and most importantly, their stories. They raised their voices, covered Captiol Hill in blue and made sure the CRC community was heard.
The impact was immediate and unquestionable.
A mere two days later, the House and Senate passed an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal year 2018 (FY18) that increased funding for NIH in the amount of $3 billion— $1 billion over our ask– and included additional funding for NCI. The bill also included a $20 million increase for the DoD Peer-Reviewed Cancer Research Program and it rejected the President’s proposal to consolidate the CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program. With a stroke of the President’s pen on the afternoon of March 23, just hours before a government shutdown would take effect, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 became law.
This is a HUGE victory.
These increases mean that federal agencies and programs can continue to serve the colorectal cancer community knowing the future funding of their programs is secure. It means colorectal cancer researchers have more resources to keep up with, and potentially even hasten, the pace of research.
Fight CRC advocates were a big part of that!!
Stories remind representatives that the policies have an impact on real lives. They are there to represent US, and what the victory shows is after hearing our stories and understanding the courage with which we fight every day, they honored that.
15 NEW CO-SPONSORS FOR H.R.1017/ S.479
If you’re familiar with advocacy at Fight CRC, you’ll know that the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act has been on our agenda for many years. Sponsored by Fight CRC Congressional Committee members Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. and Rep. Charlie Dent, the bill corrects a loophole in Medicare policy that charges Medicare recipients a copay if polyps are found and removed during a colonoscopy. We know this loophole and unexpected cost is a deterrent to screening that must be resolved.
While the bill has broad bipartisan support, it has yet to receive a committee hearing, keeping it from moving forward. Fight CRC is working with partners like ACS CAN to approach the issue from the regulatory side, as well as the legislative one, but we know that the more support the bill has, the better chance it has of passing out of committee and making it to the floor.
All throughout March, Fight CRC advocates across the country raised their voices for screening and awareness, bringing much-needed attention to the bill. At Call-on Congress, advocates made sure their representatives knew lives are at stake while this loophole persists.
As a result of our advocacy, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act gained 14 new co-sponsors in the House and 1 in the Senate this month!
We still have more work to do to the get the bill to the floor, but we will build on the progress and momentum our advocates created– progress and momentum you should be immensely proud of.
Help us keep it going by encouraging your members of Congress to co-sponsor the bill! Take action now!
With the FY 2018 appropriations bills finished, Congress will turn to the FY 2019 appropriations process after its Easter recess. It will be hard to top the increase in spending provided by the FY 2018 omnibus appropriations measure, but we must now turn our attention to FY 2019 and ask that Congress continue to invest in colorectal cancer research.
Raise your voice to ensure your representatives support colorectal research funding by taking action with our action alert!
If you weren’t able to join us in D.C. and you want to see our advocates in action, check out the livestream videos capturing our panel discussion and our Hill Briefing!
Check out all of the videos here, by clicking virtual advocacy!