LFA Brings More Than 300 Advocates to Washington to Urge Congress to Provide More Funds for Lupus Research and Education Programs
On Tuesday, March 11, more than 300 individuals with lupus, their families, and health professionals urged Members of Congress to increase government funding for lupus medical research and enact legislation that will greatly expand federal efforts on lupus. The advocates, representing 37 states, participated in the Tenth Annual Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) Advocacy Day.
Advocates urged lawmaker to increase funding for biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health and epidemiological research sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also urged Members of Congress to enact the Lupus REACH (Research, Education, Awareness, Communications and Healthcare) Amendments Act (H.R. 1192 and S. 1359).
United States Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Robert Bennett (R-UT), who introduced the Lupus REACH Amendments Act in the Senate, received the Distinguished Lupus Leadership Award for sponsoring the legislation which will further federal efforts to combat lupus, address gaps in research, and heighten awareness of lupus symptoms and health effects among the public and health professionals.
Advocates met with approximately 200 Senators, Representatives and congressional staff members to educate policy makers on lupus and its impact on individuals and families. The advocates were supported by thousands of lupus e-Advocates across the nation who also participated in LFA Advocacy Day by sending email messages or placing phone calls to the offices of their United States Senators and U.S. Representative.
In past years, LFA lupus advocates have been effective in advancing lupus research and education programs conducted by the federal government, including:
- coordinating efforts among the various federal agencies with an interest in lupus;
- securing millions of dollars for the first-ever comprehensive national epidemiological study on lupus;
- opening new sources of federal funding for biomedical research on lupus;
- obtaining changes in draft Social Security Disability regulations which will enable more people disabled by lupus to receive benefits;
- securing changes to regulations governing the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit to pay for prescription drugs required to treat lupus;
- partnering with various agencies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to increase public recognition of the serious consequences of lupus.