Sending Office: Honorable Grace Meng
Sent By:
Mark.Olson@mail.house.gov

 

Request for Signature(s)

Support funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis

DEADLINE: COB March 15, 2018

Current List of Signers (13): Butterfield, Davis, DeFazio, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Ellison, Lee, Payne, Jr., Pingree, Schakowsky, Speier, Takano, Vela

Dear Colleague,

We urge you to join us in requesting the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee increase the funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to $134
million in the FY 2019 appropriations bill.

The CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis is significantly underfunded and needs an infusion of dedicated resources to strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure to assist in the response of infectious diseases caused by the opioid crisis. The explosion
of opioid use in the United States has led to increasing infection rates of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and Hepatitis C virus (HCV). There are nearly 5.3 million people living with HBV and HCV, with 50 to 60 percent unaware of their infection. HBV and HCV are
completely preventable but require greater resources to prevent more cases and cure infected patients.

Funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis has not been sufficient enough to address the growth of HBV and HCV in the United States. Now is the time to fund CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis to address this public health challenge.

We urge you to support additional funding to combat viral hepatitis and sign this letter to the LHHS Subcommittee. If you would like to add your name to this letter, please contact Mark Olson in Rep. Meng’s office at Mark.Olson@mail.house.gov,
Jacqui Kappler in Rep. Johnson’s office at Jacqui.Kappler@mail.house.gov, Elizabeth Songvilay in Rep. Hanabusa’s office at Elizabeth.Songvilay@mail.house.gov,
or Ellen Hamilton in Rep. Chu’s office at Ellen.Hamilton@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Grace Meng                   Hank Johnson                     Colleen Hanabusa             Judy Chu
Member of Congress     Member of Congress          Member of Congress        Member of Congress

March 19, 2018

The Honorable Tom Cole                                            The Honorable Rosa DeLauro

Chairman                                                                     Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Labor, Health                                 Subcommittee on Labor, Health

and Human Services, Education,                                and Human Services, Education,

and Related Agencies                                                 and Related Agencies

Committee on Appropriations                                                Committee on Appropriations

2358-B Rayburn HOB                                                1016 Longworth HOB

Washington, DC 20515                                              Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairs Cole and Ranking Members DeLauro:

As you begin deliberations on the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you increase funds for the Division of Viral Hepatitis (DVH) at the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) to $134 million.

We request an increase of $100 million over the FY2017 enacted level for the viral hepatitis program at CDC to implement comprehensive state and local health department and community-based opioid infectious disease prevention services and programs. The viral
hepatitis program, which is significantly underfunded, needs an infusion of dedicated resources to build and strengthen our nation’s public health infrastructure to assist in the infectious disease response to the current opioid epidemic. Programs and services
supported by this increase would allow existing and future viral hepatitis grantees to integrate services with existing prevention and care programs to ensure individuals using injection drugs are able to appropriately access prevention and substance use,
mental health, and infectious disease treatment.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are completely preventable, but only when we commit the resources necessary can we treat or cure the nearly 5.3 million people in the United States living with HBV and HCV, 50 to 65 percent of whom are
completely unaware of their infection.

The recent explosion of opioid use in the United States has also led to increasing infection rates of HCV and HBV among new groups and it is undoing progress we’ve made towards curbing disease transmissions. The nation’s infectious disease public health
infrastructure is an underutilized resource in our collective response to the opioid epidemic. New HCV infections have increased nationally, with 30 states reporting increases of more than 200 percent, compared with cases reported during 2010-2014. HBV infections
are also increasing alongside an increase in injection drug use. In 2014, approximately 20,000 new cases of HBV occurred, an increase from an estimated 18,800 in 2011.

HBV and HCV also remain the leading causes of liver cancer – one of the most lethal, most expensive to battle, and fastest growing cancers in America. As noted by the CDC, viral hepatitis mortality rates have increased substantially in the United States
over the past decade.  In fact, deaths associated with HCV now surpass deaths associated with all 59 other notifiable infectious diseases combined, according to recent data from the CDC.  For ten years, since 2007, deaths from HCV have surpassed deaths from
HIV. Addressing co-infection rates, as high as 25 percent for HCV and 10 percent for HBV, remains a significant challenge.  Until more is done to address hepatitis it will remain the leading non-AIDS cause of death in people living with HIV.

No community is exempt from the impact of HBV and HCV. Rising rates of new transmissions and high rates of chronic infection among disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic populations continue to drive a dramatic public health inequity.  Asian Americans
comprise more than half of the known HBV population in the United States and, consequently, maintain the highest rate of liver cancer among all ethnic groups. American Indian/Alaska Native communities have the highest incidence rates of HCV among all races
and ethnicities.

Furthermore, the “baby boomer” population (those born between 1945 through 1965) currently accounts for three out of every four cases of chronic HCV. As these Americans continue to age, they are likely to develop complications from HCV and require costly
medical interventions that can be avoided if they are tested earlier and provided with curative treatment options.

We appreciate the Committee’s commitment to combating the opioid epidemic and for its support for viral hepatitis prevention. Making this investment in DVH is a key component in addressing a vital public health inequity and will strengthen our public health
infrastructure as well as combat the devastating and expensive complications caused by viral hepatitis.

Sincerely,

Related Legislative Issues
Selected legislative information:Appropriations, HealthCare
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