On July 19, 2007, the House passed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill for 2008 (H.R. 3043). Included in it is an increase in funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hemophilia program, which helps subsidize hemophilia treatment centers. The increase is approximately $880,000, which will raise the funding level for the program to $18,187,000 in 2008. The funding increase is significant because the budget for health programs was tight this year.
In the Appropriations Committee, Congressmen Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and Steve Israel (D-NY) championed the hemophilia treatment center funding increase on behalf of the bleeding disorders community. In addition, 21 members of Congress signed a letter to the Appropriations Committee supporting increased funding. This could not have been accomplished without the efforts of all the participants from throughout the community who attended NHF’s Washington Days held in March 2007. Special recognition goes to Barbara Gordon of the New England Hemophilia Association and to the Bender family of Long Island, NY, for their individual efforts to reach out to Congressmen Kennedy and Israel, respectively.
The Senate has not yet included an increase for the hemophilia program in its version of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill. Therefore, we will need the community’s help to contact members of the House and Senate conference committee on this issue in early September as the final bill is being drafted. Stay tuned for more details next month.