Legislative Agenda

116th Congress, 1st Session

About the DDNC

The Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) is an advocacy organization comprised of the major national voluntary and professional societies concerned with digestive diseases. 

DDNC’s mission is to work cooperatively to improve access to and the quality of digestive disease health care in order to promote the best possible medical outcome and quality of life for current and future patients.

To further this mission, DDNC focuses on improving public policy in areas that impact the treatment of digestive diseases, including:
I. Research on Digestive Diseases
II. Patient Access to Affordable, Quality Health Care
III. Prevention and Awareness of Digestive Diseases

For over 40 years, DDNC has provided national leadership on these issues on behalf of patient organizations, professional societies, and industry interested in the full spectrum of digestive disorders. 

I. Research

DDNC supports additional funding for digestive diseases research. Federal agencies must receive sustained funding increases annually to develop treatments and find cures for digestive diseases.

For Fiscal Year 2020, DDNC supports:

  • $41.6 billion for the National Institutes of Health
  • $2.165 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    • Continued implementation of the recommendations of the 2009 National Commission on Digestive Diseases
  • Aggressive implementation of the National Cancer Moonshot
  • $360 million for the Department of Defense Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program
  • $782 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetics Research Program

DDNC also supports passage of the following legislation:

  • The Functional Gastrointestinal and Motility Disorders Research Enhancement Act – This would bolster research at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and increase awareness of functional GI disorders

II. Patient Access to Care

DDNC urges legislators and federal agency officials to implement policy and regulations that benefit patient access to care by strengthening the patient-provider decision-making relationship, limiting patient out-of-pocket spending, and curbing the ability of third-party payers to shift overly burdensome costs onto patients.

DDNC supports:

  • Preservation of basic patient protections from the Affordable Care Act, including:
  • Prohibiting discrimination against patients with pre-existing conditions
  • Maintaining a national Essential Health Benefits quality standard for insurance coverage, and
  • Allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26
  • Patient access to nutritional care, including coverage for nutritional treatments, services, and specialists; FDA implementation of a viable regulatory pathway for medical foods; and labeling of gluten in medications and consumer foods
  • An FDA regulatory pathway for approval of biosimilars that emphasizes patient safety and product efficacy

DDNC also supports passage of the following legislation:

  • Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act (S.668/H.R. 1570) – This would eliminate cost-sharing for initial and follow-up colorectal cancer screening tests for Medicare beneficiaries
  • Safe Step Act (H.R. 2279) – This would establish guidelines for appealing step therapy protocols under ERISA health plans
  • Patients' Access to Treatments Act – This would establish cost-sharing limits for health plans that cover prescription drugs under a formulary or tiered cost sharing structure
  • Medical Nutrition Equity Act (H.R. 2501) – This would provide coverage, under federal and private health plans for foods and vitamins that are medically necessary for the management of certain digestive and metabolic disorders and conditions

III. Prevention & Awareness

DDNC urges continued support for programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that lead to prevention and awareness of digestive diseases.

For Fiscal Year 2020, DDNC supports:

  • $50 million for CDC's Colorectal Cancer Prevention program
  • $134 million for CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis
  • $1 million for CDC's Inflammatory Bowel Diseases program