DDNC Legislative Policy Agenda
2017 – 115th Congress


Introduction
The Digestive Disease National Coalition (DDNC) is an advocacy organization comprised of the major national voluntary and professional societies concerned with digestive diseases. The DDNC focuses on improving public policy and increasing public awareness with respect to diseases of the digestive system. The DDNC’s mission is to work cooperatively to improve access to and the quality of digestive diseases health care in order to promote the best possible medical outcome and quality of life for current and future patients.


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

 For Fiscal Year 2018, the DDNC supports:

  • $36 billion for the National Institutes of Health
  • $2.16 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
    • Continued implementation of the recommendations of the 2009 National Commission on Digestive Disease Research
  • Aggressive implementation of the National Cancer Moonshot
  • $310 million for the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program
  • $700 million for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Prosthetics Research Program


II. Patient Access to Care
The DDNC urges legislators and federal agency officials to implement policy and regulations that benefit patient access to care, strengthen the patient/provider decision-making relationship and minimize patient out-of-pocket costs.

The DDNC supports:

  • Passage of provisions of the SCREEN Act and the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, both of which eliminate cost-sharing for Medicare beneficiaries if a polyp is found and removed during a screening colonoscopy.  The SCREEN Act also eliminates cost-sharing for necessary follow-up colonoscopy subsequent to another colorectal cancer screening test.
  • Preservation of basic patient protections from the Affordable Care Act including eliminating insurer discrimination against pre-existing conditions, establishing out of pocket maximums for covered services, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. These protections have made it possible for chronic disease patients to obtain insurance coverage and protect them from stratospheric medical bills.
  • 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.


III. Prevention & Awareness
The 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 2018, the DDNC supports:

  • $50 million for CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Prevention program
  • $62.8 million for CDC’s Viral Hepatitis program
  • $1 million for CDC’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease program

Legislative Agenda