Four national physician organizations urge Congress to fund Zika fight

Four major physician organizations sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Thursday, pressing them to pass a bill to fund the fight against Zika.

The American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sent the letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid.

"Every day that goes by without an agreement is a day where more patients will be at risk of being exposed to the virus," the letter reads.

While Congress is working toward some level of funding, the groups advise against taking money from other initiatives (like Ebola funding) to fund Zika research. Additionally, the letter reads, "We are concerned that funds that were to be used by CMS to develop the technology infrastructure to implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act could be diverted in a way that might undermine the ability of the agency to effectively administer the program."

The White House has asked Congress for $1.9 billion in emergency Zika funds. So far, the Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to allocate $1.1 billion to fight Zika, while the House Zika funding bill only offers $622.1 million, using money from other programs.

 

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