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Brain Injury Legislative Update

The following is the Legislative Update supplied by the Brain Injury Association of America for this week:

Dear Advocates:

Two weeks remain until Congress leaves for Memorial Day recess, and legislative activity is expected to center on efforts to pass a war supplemental spending bill as well as potentially achieving progress on a fiscal 2009 budget conference report.

Several events and developments related to traumatic brain injury took place this week in our nation’s capital.

On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the issue of competitive bidding of durable medical equipment under the Medicare Fee-For-Service program.  As a member of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), BIAA signed on to several letters urging Congress to ensure that the Medicare competitive bidding program does not decrease access to and the quality of assistive devices.

Also this week, Democrats included legislation which would place a moratorium until March 2009 on several harmful Medicaid regulations (H.R. 5613), in the FY 2008 war supplemental appropriations bill.  BIAA continues to strongly endorse H.R. 5613 and supports efforts to keep the bill in the war supplemental legislation as it moves towards final passage, expected within the next two weeks.
In addition, BIAA Government Affairs Associate Robert Demichelis attended “Brain Pacemakers:  A Promising Approach and a New Era of Hope for Neurological and Psychiatric Disorders,” a symposium on deep brain stimulation sponsored by The Office on Disability, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Cleveland Clinic Center for Neurological Restoration.

As a final note, BIAA continues to wait to see if Congress will be able to agree on a budget this year before sending out its Legislative Action Alert on FY 2009 TBI Appropriations.  In the meantime, BIAA has signed on to a coalition letter urging Appropriations Committee Chairs in both chambers to allocate an additional $15 billion over last year’s funding levels for the Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittees.

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