Our 2020 May Awareness Month went digital this year, but that did not stop nearly 100 advocates across the US from participating in virtual advocacy through the Advocacy Action Center. THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to create a letter for Members of Congress. Together, we make our voices heard by lawmakers and share important information about life with GBS, CIDP, or variants. Stay tuned for more updates on our legislative agenda.
At the same time, we saw some advancements in COVID-19 legislation that may help the community. The Foundation has remained in contact with several groups and coalitions – including APLUS and the National Health Council – to add the GBS|CIDP Community’s needs to collective advocacy efforts for COVID-19 relief packages.
Earlier this week, leadership in the House of Representatives introduced the HEROES Act, which was voted on Friday, 5/15. Remember, the Senate still needs to vote on this bill before the President signs it into law, We do expect that the Senate may make some changes or introduce their own version of the HEROES Act, but it is very promising to see theses issues highlighted by Congress.
Here are some highlights from the HEROES Act that we hope may benefit the community:
- Provides a 10% increase in federal payments to Medicaid programs for home and community-based services
- Provides a 14% increase in Federal Medical Assistance Payments to Medicaid programs.
- Includes many programs to ensure COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines are covered through Medicare and Medicaid programs.
- Updates the ongoing blood donation public awareness campaign to also include the importance of the plasma supply.
- Creates a new special enrollment period for Medicare Part A and B, as well as through the federal exchanges for private coverage.
- Increased research funding for many agencies within the NIH doing relevant research.
- Plus many more items related to boosting key features of the public health system in the US.
As GBS|CIDP Awareness month continues on virtually, we hope that you will continue to help the Foundation highlight our mission pillars of Support, Education, Research, and Advocacy. Check back regularly for more updates and activities, and don’t forget to Save The Date for our Community Coffee Chat on May 26th.