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NVHR Issues Challenge to Administration, Congress: Don't Leave 5 Million Americans Afflicted with Chronic Viral Hepatitis Out in the Cold with Budget Freeze
Date:1/27/2010

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Ms. Lorren Sandt, Chair of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable (NVHR) issued the following statement in advance of the President's State of the Union Address.  NVHR is a coalition of more than 150 public, private, and voluntary organizations dedicated to reducing the incidence of infection, morbidity, and mortality from chronic viral hepatitis that afflicts more than 5 million Americans:

"With tonight's State of the Union address, the President kicks off a national discussion about how best to fund our nation's priorities and values through the FY 2011 federal budget.   While we recognize the need to address our nation's economic challenges, it is critical that policymakers understand that a budgetary freeze would leave more than 5 million Americans afflicted with chronic viral hepatitis out in the cold.  

"In its budget proposal last year, the Administration proposed a meager increase of $51,000 for federal viral hepatitis prevention, treatment, and surveillance programs. Ultimately, Congress enacted a $900,000 increase in funding, but that figure is still woefully inadequate given the scope of this crisis.  Our nation's public-health system cannot afford another year of neglect.  Each and every day in 2010, more Americans will become infected and thousands more will silently progress to liver cancer, cirrhosis, or liver failure because they don't they know they are infected and need treatment.   Without decisive federal action, Milliman estimates that public and private payer costs for treating chronic viral hepatitis C alone will more than triple by 2024 to $85 billion.

"Not surprisingly, earlier this month, the Institute of Medicine (IoM
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SOURCE National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable
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