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Contact Your Member of Congress about the Super Committee Budget Recommendations

The Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) has received another important update from the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Take action now and reach out to your Members of Congress in efforts to protect federally-funded medical research.

From PAN:

As I am sure you already know, the Congressional “Super Committee” has just two weeks left to submit its budget recommendations to Congress.  While we don't yet know what those recommendations will be, there is little doubt that what results from this process will have an impact on many in this country, including the Parkinson's community.  While the negotiations are fast-paced, often behind closed doors, and somewhat confusing, it is PAN's commitment to you to keep you informed – at least with what we know – over the coming weeks.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 created the “Super Committee” which is comprised of six Senators and six Representatives (two of whom are members of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson's Disease, one of whom is a Caucus Co-Chair).  The task of this Committee is to recommend at least $1.2 trillion in governmental expenditure cuts over the next decade.  Congress then has the option of adopting the recommendations, passing an alternative plan that also achieves at least $1.2 trillion in savings, or failing to act to incorporate the mandated savings into law.  If Congress fails to, in any manner, adopt the needed savings as law by December 23, then under the current law “across-the-board” cuts will be put into place for Fiscal Year 2013, which begins October 1, 2012.  While it is not entirely clear at this time how the across-the-board cuts would be allocated, no one is applauding the arbitrary nature of these cuts, and from our perspective, the impact such cuts would have on discretionary programs like NIH-funded biomedical research, not to mention Medicare, would be devastating.  We all remain hopeful that the Committee, and then Congress, will act to avoid the arbitrary cuts.

While not all of the information about proposals being considered by the Committee is public, many of the reported ideas do focus on programs of interest to us.  For example, in the Medicare program, proposals have ranged from increasing premiums and the age of eligibility, to limiting beneficiary benefits and provider payments.  There have also been proposals to reduce cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients.  Conversely, there have been numerous news reports about increasing government revenue, mostly through the tax system.  Realistically, to achieve the level of savings mandated in the law, we are likely to ultimately see a proposal(s) that includes many of these ideas, and more.

PAN is asking the advocacy community to reach out to their Members of Congress and urge them to protect biomedical research and those who depend on the Medicare and Medicaid programs for their health care from significant budget cuts.  Our supporters on Capitol Hill tell us they are being inundated with calls from constituents, but that they are not hearing as loudly as they need to on the issues that matter to our community. It is critical that our voices be heard.  Please call your Senators and Representative to tell them how important biomedical research funding and healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid are for the Parkinson's community.  You can click on this link to find contact information for your elected officials in Washington, D.C., as well as talking points to help guide you through your calls to their offices.

Contact Your Elected Officials

PAN is the voice of the Parkinson's community in Washington, DC.  In 2011, PDF is supporting PAN with a grant of $200,000.


Source Date: Nov 17 2011