Advocacy Priorities

Thank you for joining with thousands of other Foundation advocates across the nation who are helping us shape the policies and programs that impact people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Below are our advocacy priorities. Download our handouts here, and see more in the Advocacy Toolkit webpage:

We are asking the U.S. Congress to support the following:

Awareness

Join the Congressional Crohn's and Colitis Caucus
The Congressional Crohn's and Colitis Caucus is a bi-partisan group of Members of Congress that work together to raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), support IBD medical research, and protect patient access to care. The Caucus is led in the House by Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY-17). View the current list of Caucus members here

Access to Care

Protect chronic disease patients from insurer discrimination and bolster patient protections

As Congress considers changes to the U.S. healthcare system, it is critical that basic patient protections are maintained including the prohibition on discrimination against pre-existing conditions. Further, more must be done to support patients' access to the care they need. 

Co-sponsor the Restoring the Patient's Voice Act

Step therapy is when a patient must fail first on an insurer-preferred medication before being provided coverage for the physician-prescribed medication. This bill would strengthen access to care by providing exceptions for patients to skip step therapy protocols when protocols are not medically appropriate. Step therapy reform bills are also being considered by state legislatures, see www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/steptherapy for more information. 


Co-sponsor the Patients' Access to Treatments Act
This legislation would enable patients to better afford the medications they need by prohibiting higher cost-sharing for specialty medications than for other prescription drugs in non-preferred tiers. 

Co-sponsor the Medical Nutrition Equity Act
Medical nutrition is an important treatment option that is often not covered by insurance. This bill ensure that Medicaid, CHIP, Medicare, the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and private insurance cover medically necessary foods if they are prescribed by the patient's provider. 

Research

Provide $1 million for the CDC IBD Epidemiology Program in Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is supporting research on IBD's impact on minoirty and underserved populations. The study's goal is to learn more about the causes, variations, and other factors of IBD in order to improve care and target interventions. 

Increase funding for NIH and NIDDK in FY20
Hope for more effective treatments and a cure for IBD lies in biomedical research. The Foundation joins other stakeholders in recommending an increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the lead institute for IBD research at NIH.

Include 'Inflammatory Bowel Diseases' in the DOD Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program in FY20
'Inflammatory Bowel Diseases' has been included in the Department of Defense (DOD) Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program since FY08, and IBD researchers consistently compete successfully. IBD is associated with service in the Persian Gulf and the prevalence of IBD is increasing among veterans.

Biosimilars

Biological therapies have been revolutionary for IBD patients by helping to prevent surgery and hospitalization while improving quality of life for these patients. Access to biological therapies, is therefore, a crucial component of medical therapy for our patients. The entrance of biosimilars into the markets would create additional flexibility for patients and providers. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing a regulatory approval pathway for biosimilars, and states are updating older state laws on drug substitution. As policies on biosimilars are crafted, the Foundation wants to ensure drug safety, limit the risk of immunogenicity, and create transparency between the patient, provider, and payer around the decisions related to switching to a biosimilar. For additional information, email sbuchanan@crohnscolitisfoundation.org

Resources on biosimilars: