October 28, 2021

Democrat Members of US Senate Committee on Appropriations Release Labor, HHS and Education Bill

The Democrat majority on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations released bill text and a summary of legislation Oct. 18, to fund agencies and programs for federal fiscal year (FY) 2022 in the U.S. Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The bill includes $45.522 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget, a 6% increase over the FY 2021 level and $2.4 billion to establish the proposed Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H).The NIH budget includes:

  • $640 million for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® Initiative, an increase of $80 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • $6.56 billion for the National Cancer Institute, which is unchanged from current funding.
  • $380 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, an increase of $42 million more than the fiscal year 2021.

The bill includes a three-year extension (until Jan. 1, 2024) of the current delay in implementation of the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) mammography screening recommendations as they apply to Affordable Care Act coverage and any other laws that reference the recommendations. The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) has advocated for this provision.

In addition, the bill provides $4.3 billion, an increase of $276 million, for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In its explanatory statement — which does not have the force of law — the committee urged CMS to identify ways to expand access to cancer screening and to consider ACR-supported CT colonography as a Medicare-covered colorectal cancer screening test.

The committee mentioned the recent decline in lung cancer mortality as directly attributable to NIH-funded research. It noted the progress in the understanding of the molecular underpinnings of lung cancer and how the rapid development of new targeted therapies with more comprehensive biomarker testing can deliver precision medicine to more patients. The committee encourages NIH to continue supporting important research across each of these areas to broaden the base of lung cancer survivors across different disease types, including small cell lung cancer.

The ACR and its Lung Cancer Screening 2.0 Committee are engaged in establishing and promoting lung cancer screening programs and continue to engage lawmakers and relevant agency representatives regarding the merits of lung cancer screening, and simultaneously identify and promote opportunities to expand and/or tailor these critical programs.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY 2022 Labor-HHS spending bill in July, including $46.434 billion for the NIH base budget in FY 2022 (an increase of $3.5 billion above the 2021 enacted level), as well as $3 billion for ARPA-H. The current funding is set to expire Dec. 3.

For more information about the spending bill, contact Tina Getachew, ACR Government Affairs Specialist.