Welcome to the 317 Coalition! CDC estimates that vaccination of children born between 1994 and 2013 will prevent 322 million illnesses and help avoid 732,000 deaths. Still, approximately 43,000 adults and 300 children in the United States die annually from vaccine-preventable diseases and their complications.
The 317 Coalition advocates for increasing the federal funding for the National Center for Immunizatio and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly known as "Section 317" of the Public Health Service Act. Section 317 provides a safety net program of grants to states to immunize underserved populations, such as underinsured adults who have no other means to pay for vaccinations. Additionally, the 317 program serves as a backbone for the nation's public health infrastructure by monitoring coverage, targeting specific populations and helping providers and the public make informed decisions. Our updated issue brief outlines the priorities of the Program. Learn More.
Prevention and Public Health Fund Letter: The Coalition has written a letter to the House and Senate Leaders to request their continued support for the Section 317 Program. Currently at least 45% of the 317 Program is funded by the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which could be at risk with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Read the letter here.
Continuing Resolution News: The Senate approved a Continuing Resolution (CR), HR 2028, late on December 9. The bill passed through the Senate with a vote of 61 – 38, and through the House with a vote of 326 – 96. The CR will keep the federal government operating through April 28, 2017. The bill was signed into law by the President on December 10. The bill text is available here.
Under the CR, all agencies are subject to a 0.1901 percent cut across the board to reach previously agreed budget targets. Based on the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, the CR provides the FDA with an additional $20 million, the NIH with an additional $352 million, and $500 million in state grants to supplement current opioid abuse prevention and treatment activities. The bill also provides $170 million to aid Flint in addressing its water crisis.
The Section 317 Program was not mentioned in the CR text and will be continue to be funded at the FY2016 level of $610 million, minus the 0.1901% cut.
Rep. Tom Cole, Chairman of the House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee, said that trying to finish fiscal 2017 appropriations by next April will be difficult, and was disappointed with the decision for a long-term CR.
Update: The Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC submitted a report to Congress on the Section 317 Immunization Program in August of 2016, which was requested by the House Appropriations Committee. The report includes the fiscal year 2017 cost estimate, an estimate of State, local, and tribal operations funding, as well as a discussion of the evolving and expanding role of the 317 program.
The professional judgement budget estimates include $793.2 million for program operations, the majority of which would go to state and local operations, and an additional $246.7 million for vaccine purchases.
Program operations fund the continuation of existing vaccine infrastructure or the creation of new infrastructure at the local, state, and federal levels. The funding for program operations is the primary means of support for the five key program areas that are required for Section 317:
- Stewardship and accountability for publicly purchased vaccine and Section 317 and VFC operations funding;
- Assessment of program performance for program improvement;
- Assurance of access to vaccines;
- Assurance that immunization information technology supports programmatic goals; and,
- Improvement and maintenance of preparedness readiness.
The vaccines purchased by Section 317 are not used on individuals with health insurance. Rather, Section 317 vaccines are intended to be used for financially vulnerable adults without insurance, and other time-sensitive public health needs such as responding to outbreaks of VPDs (vaccine preventable diseases) or improving influenza vaccination in schools.
The report also contains an explanation of Section 317’s role, before and after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Its functions have evolved as the ACA has made expansions to insurance coverage for immunization services.
Alert: The 2015 measles outbreak across the U.S. galvanized public attention for vaccination policies and the need for robust public health infrastructure. While this outbreak highlighted the importance of core immunization capacities, the FY 2017 budget proposal for CDC’s immunization program cuts core disease surveillance functions by $50 million.
Advocacy News: On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee approved their FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. The bill would fund the Section 317 Program at $560 million, which is what the Administration requested. This is a $50 million cut from FY 2016. Read the report language here.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved their FY2017 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill on June 9, which would fully fund the Section 317 Program at $610 million, restoring the cut proposed by the Administration. Read the report, including the cost estimate and report language, here.
As the House and Senate go into conference this fall, the 317 Coalition will work to advocate for full funding for the program at $610 million.
In addition to proposed report language from February of 2016, the 317 Coalition has mounted an aggressive campaign to support robust funding for the CDC immnization program. It works with Senate champions, led by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), to circulate a dear colleague letter that calls for the Coalition's requested funding level of $650 million in FY 2017.
Thank you to the eighteen senators who signed our Dear Colleague letter, especially Senator Reed for leading the effort. The letter, sent yearly to the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies subcommittee on Apropriations, advocates funding the 317 Program at $650 million.
The CDC Professional Budget Judgment for the Section 317 program was released in December of 2015. The CDC recommends $1.071 billion for the program to fully implement its program operations and vaccine purchase functions. The program is currently funded at $610 million. The prior year's estimate was $963.4 million for the overall program need.
During final budget negotiations at the end of 2015 for an FY 2016 funding package, the 317 Coalition weighed in with key policymakers in both chambers to advocate for an increase to $650 million for the Section 317 Immunization Program in the final FY16 appropriations package. The Coalition proposed report language in Feburary of 2016.