May 05, 2017

Spending Bill Boosts NIH Supports Mammo Coverage

A budget increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and a provision protecting insurance coverage for screening mammography starting at age 40 have been incorporated into an omnibus federal spending package.

The $1.1 trillion continuing resolution passed the House of Representatives Wednesday on a 309–118 vote after provisions were finalized by House and Senate negotiators. Senate passage is expected before a Friday, May 5, deadline keeping the federal government running for the rest of fiscal year 2017, ending September 30.

Included in the package is a $2 billion increase (about 6.25 percent) for the NIH, bolstering spending levels from approximately $32 billion to approximately $34 billion. The National Cancer Institute would be funded at $5.4 billion, an increase of approximately $175 million (about 3.36 percent). The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering would receive approximately $357 million, an increase of about $10 million.

In addition to funding the 11 annual appropriations bills, the omnibus measure contains important policy language including a one-year extension to January 2019 of the current delay in implementation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) screening mammography recommendations, as they apply to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) coverage, and any other laws that reference the recommendations. The language will help ensure insurance coverage — without deductibles and copays — of annual screening mammograms for women 40 and older by recognizing the 2002 the USPSTF recommendation favoring screening beginning at 40.

Detailed summaries of the 11 appropriations bills within the omnibus bill, including funding levels and policy items can be examined at the House Appropriations Committee website. President Trump has indicated he will sign the measure once Congress has voted it out.

The FY2018 appropriations cycle is still underway, with the ACR continuing to advocate in support of increased medical research funding and extension of mammography coverage in FY2018 appropriations measures. NIH funding and coverage of preventive screenings are among the issues being advocated during the ACR Capitol Hill Day.