Sending Office: Honorable Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Sent By:
Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov

        Request for Cosponsor(s)

Current Signers: H. Johnson, Meng, Hastings

Supporting Organizations: The Aids Institute, National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD), Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, Hep B United, Hepatitis B Foundation

Dear Colleague,

Please join Reps. Johnson and Meng in signing a letter to Director Mick Mulvaney asking to raise funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to $134 million, and to include $40 million to fully fund
the recently passed program to eliminate opioid-related infectious diseases within the Substance-Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act of 2018 (H.R. 6).

An estimated 5.3 million people in the United States are living with viral hepatitis. Between 2010 and 2016, new cases of hepatitis C (HCV) rose a staggering 350 percent nationwide. The number of reported acute hepatitis B (HBV) cases rose for the first
time since 2006, largely due to the opioid crisis and low adult vaccination rates. Viral hepatitis remains the leading cause of liver cancer – one of the fastest growing cancers in America.

The tools to reverse these trends exist; there is a highly effective treatment for HCV, and highly effective vaccines that protect against HBV. A comprehensive national viral hepatitis program that will put the U.S. on a path towards eliminating viral hepatitis
requires approximately $3.9 million over ten years. The CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis currently receives just $39 million in funding.

We urge you to join us in sending a letter to Director Mulvaney, asking him to increase that funding to $134 million and include $40 million to fully fund the recently passed program to eliminate opioid-related infectious diseases. We believe that investing
in the Division of Viral Hepatitis is key to strengthening our public health infrastructure and addressing the ongoing viral hepatitis epidemic.

If you have any questions, please reach out to Chelsea Grey in Rep. Johnson’s office at Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr                                                 Grace Meng

Member of Congress                                                              Member of Congress

 

 

Text of the letter below:

December ##, 2018

 

Mr. Mick Mulvaney

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20503

 

Dear Director Mulvaney,

As you craft the Administration’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2020, we respectfully urge you to increase funds for the Division of Viral Hepatitis at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to $134 million and include $40 million
to fully fund the recently passed program to eliminate opioid-related infectious diseases.

New cases of viral hepatitis have skyrocketed in communities across the country. The CDC estimates that up to 5.3 million people in the United States live with hepatitis B (HBV) or hepatitis C (HCV), with more than half unaware they are living with the disease.
Between 2010 and 2016, new cases of HCV rose by a staggering 350 percent nationwide. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of those cases are a direct result of injection drug use, which has increased as a result of the opioid crisis. In addition, we are
at a critical time for HBV, where little to no progress has been made to reduce the number of chronic HBV cases, despite HBV being a vaccine preventable disease. The number of reported acute HBV cases across the country rose for the first time since 2006,
increasing by 20.7 percent in 2015, largely due to the opioid crisis and low adult vaccination rates. HBV and HCV remain the leading causes of liver cancer – one of the most lethal, most expensive to battle, and fastest growing cancers in America, with 5-year
survival rates of only 15 percent.

The tools to reverse these trends and to eliminate viral hepatitis in the United States exist. Due to advances in medical science, there is now a highly effective treatment for HCV that can cure the disease in as little as eight weeks. There are also highly
effective vaccines for infants, children, and adults that protect against HBV.

Reaching elimination will require an investment in resources, especially at the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis. According to a December 2016 professional judgment budget, a comprehensive national viral hepatitis program putting the U.S.
on a path towards elimination requires approximately $3.9 billion over 10 years. This is well above the Division’s current funding level of only $39 million. Prioritizing funding for the Division of Viral Hepatitis will allow the agency to
build the infrastructure and programs necessary to identify people living with viral hepatitis and link them to care and treatment, work with providers, health care professionals and insurers to improve access to screening and treatment, improve surveillance
and outbreak response, prevent mother-to-child transmission of HBV and HCV, and improve prevention efforts through research and technical assistance. The ability to provide state and local health departments and other key stakeholders funding to build the
necessary infrastructure to provide services is integral to stopping the spread of this disease. We urge OMB to allocate no less than $134 million in funding for the CDC’s Division of Viral Hepatitis in FY2020.

Further combatting injection drug use and the opioid crisis is another key step in preventing new cases of viral hepatitis and putting the country on the path towards elimination. H.R. 6, the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act, the
bipartisan bill recently signed by President Trump, includes many impactful and important solutions that can be used to combat the ongoing opioid crisis. One of these is Section 7141, Reauthorization and Expansion of Program of Surveillance and Education
Regarding Infections Associated with Illicit Drug Use
. This authorizes funding for the CDC to provide much-needed resources to state and local governments and others to help improve the response to the infectious disease consequences of the opioid
crisis. These resources would be used for surveillance, testing, and to link individuals to care and treatment of the infectious diseases most exacerbated by the opioid crisis – including viral hepatitis – along with expanding prevention and education efforts. We
urge OMB to fully fund this program to eliminate opioid-related infectious diseases at $40 million.

Funding for this new program must not come at the expense of existing viral hepatitis and other critical healthcare programs, nor be a substitute for additional funding for the Division.

We applaud the administration’s continued focus on combatting the opioid crisis and have confidence the administration will continue to support important public health efforts to reduce infectious diseases. Making this investment in the Division
of Viral Hepatitis
 and funding the program to eliminate opioid-related infectious diseases are key to strengthening our public health infrastructure and addressing the devastating ongoing viral hepatitis epidemics.

Sincerely,

 

cc: Alex Azar, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

      Adm. Brett Giroir, Department of Health and Human Services

      Dr. Jonathan Mermin, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

      Katy Talento, The White House

      Joseph Grogan, Office of Management and Budget

      Marc Garufi, Office of Management and Budget

      Nicholas Burton, Office of Management and Budget

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, HealthCare

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