By a vote of nine to six, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies approved its fiscal year 2021 funding bill. The draft bill extends the current moratorium against the controversial U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) breast cancer screening recommendations and increases spending for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The measure features a four-year extension (through Jan. 1, 2025) of the current delay in implementing the 2009 USPSTF screening mammography recommendations as they apply to Affordable Care Act coverage and any other laws that reference the recommendations. Language in the bill will help ensure insurance coverage (without deductibles and copays) of annual screening mammograms for women 40 and older by recognizing the 2002 USPSTF recommendation favoring screening beginning at age 40, rather than more recent controversial recommendations to begin mammography screening biennially at age 50.
The bill also increases NIH funding by $5.25 billion, raising its overall budget for FY 2021 to $47 billion. The bill provides $42 billion in annual appropriations, an increase of $500 million above the 2020 enacted level and $8.6 billion above the President’s budget request, as well as $5 billion in emergency appropriations.
The appropriations bill singled out the following NIH research initiatives for multi-million dollar budget increases:
- $5 billion in emergency funding to improve capacity at research institutions;
- $2.9 billion for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias research, an increase of $35 million above the FY 2020 enacted level; and
- Continued robust investments in initiatives such as the Cancer Moonshot, All of Us Precision Medicine Initiative, BRAIN Initiative and Clinical and Translational Science Awards.
The legislation will be sent to the full House Appropriations Committee for markup.