The House Appropriations Committee recently approved legislation to fund the HHS through fiscal year 2020. According to Troy Zimmerman, vice president of government relations for the National Kidney Foundation, the legislation includes “key provisions to improve the lives of chronic kidney disease patients, living donors, and their loved ones.”
The committee approved the legislation after hearing testimony from HHS Secretary Alex Azar about health care policy. The Trump administration had proposed to cut the HHS budget by 14% compared to 2019, and particularly cuts for funding of the NIH.
Key points of the legislation, according to Zimmerman, include:
- Funding of $32 million for organ transplantation activities under the Health Resources and Services Administration. Part of that funding – $10 million – is specifically allotted for the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC) to help living organ donors with unreimbursed out-of-pocket travel expenses related to donation. That amount to fund NLDAC is an increase of $6.5 million compared to last year’s budget, Zimmerman noted.
“NKF worked closely with members of the Appropriations Committee to secure this unprecedented funding increase and rally bipartisan support for its inclusion,” Zimmerman wrote in the NKF’s Advocacy for Action blog. “Ensuring that living organ donors aren’t left on the hook for travel expenses tied to their gift of life is a small but meaningful step toward encouraging more people to consider the selfless act of living organ donation.”
- The bill also allots $41 billion for the NIH for fiscal year 2020 – a $2 billion increase compared to last year. That budget includes $2.1 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Zimmerman wrote.
- The House bill sets aside $2.5 million in funding for the CDC’s Chronic Kidney Disease Initiative.
“While this funding bill shows great promise for kidney patients nationwide, more work remains ahead,” Zimmerman said. “Following passage in the Appropriations Committee, the bill will head to a vote by the full House of Representatives.”