Budget bill limits new food advice, edited humans, GM salmon

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Ryan Says Democrats and Republicans Won With Budget Deal

Congress is scheduled to vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill Friday that would avert a government shutdown until next October and fund almost all federal activities.

But like just about any bill in Congress, this one's full of little goodies and pet projects that can have a big effect on medical research and health and science policies.

Here's a look at some of the medical winners and losers in the bill:

Winners:

NIH

The National Institutes of Health is a big winner, getting a $2 billion, 6.6 percent funding increase, to $32 billion for 2016.

Planned Parenthood

The bill doesn't defund the health provider, despite promises from many lawmakers to do just that.

Pandemic preparedness

Public health agencies get $72 million to prepare for a flu pandemic. This includes permission for the government to help private companies build new vaccine production facilities.

Food safety

The Food and Drug Administration gets $2.72 billion, $132 million more than last year. That includes a $104.5 million increase for food safety - almost the $110 million the agency says it needs to implement new rules to fight foodborne disease outbreaks that sicken 48 million Americans every year.

Antibiotic resistance efforts

The bill includes $375 million to various agencies to battle antibiotic resistant germs.

Mammograms

It renews a provision that requires Medicare and Medicaid to pay for mammograms for women starting at age 40, despite federal recommendations that the breast cancer screenings can wait until women are 50.

Stray pets

USDA may not license "class B dealers who sell dogs and cats for use in research, experiments, teaching, or testing." The provision is aimed at brokers believed to haunt animal shelters looking to sell unwanted pets for medical research.

Losers:

Obamacare

The bill is full of digs at the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare. It delays the so-called Cadillac tax on the most generous health insurance plans, costing the government an estimated $87 billion in revenue from 2018, when it was supposed to kick in, through 2025.

It also holds up a tax against medical devices, which device makers have been fighting against for years. And it slashes money for risk corridors, which compensate insurance companies that get stuck with sicker-than-expected patients. Insurance companies had insisted on this provision in return for the health care law's requirement that they take all comers, no matter how sick they are.

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Budget bill limits new food advice, edited humans, GM salmon
WASHINGTON, USA - NOVEMBER 19: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to the press about legislation being introduced in the House of Representatives to modify the 1980 Refugee Act in Washington, USA on November 19, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., joined by, from left, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., and Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., answers a reporter's question during a news conference by Democrats on policy toward Syrian refugees coming to the U.S., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Women in the audience listen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, during the House Immigration and Border Security subcommittee hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
From left, Assistant Secretary with the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Richard, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez, and Seth Jones, International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, are sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, prior to testifying before the House Judiciary Immigration and Border Security subcommittee hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., left, talks with Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the Intelligence Committee, outside the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, as GOP leaders in Congress are calling for a pause in Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. in the wake of the Paris attacks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, USA - NOVEMBER 19: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan speaks to the press about legislation being introduced in the House of Representatives to modify the 1980 Refugee Act in Washington, USA on November 19, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., joined by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., left, points to the embedded chip in her passport that contains digital information, as she and other Democrats talk about security measures for Syrian refugees and others coming into the U.S., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Immigration and Border Security subcommittee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., left, shakes hands with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, before the subcommittee's hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program where Rodriguez testified. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
House Immigration and Border Security subcommittee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., listens to testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, during the subcommittee's hearing to examine the Syrian refugee crisis and its impact on the security of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., center, flanked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., right, answers a reporter's question during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, on policy for Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. Democrats are opposed to tighter restrictions on the refugees coming to the U.S. as proposed in legislation by congressional Republicans in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., center, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, on policy for Syrian refugees coming to the U.S. Democrats are opposed to tighter restrictions on the refugees coming to the U.S. as proposed in legislation by congressional Republicans in the aftermath of the Paris terror attack. From left are, Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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Dietary guidelines

The joint USDA/FDA food guidelines, which come out every five years, were due by the end of December. The bill holds that up after a big fight over anadvisory panel's recommendationsthat included limiting salt, eating less meat and, most controversially, eating a plant-based diet that protects the environment. Now the agencies cannot release their guidelines until they can show they are "based on significant scientific agreement; and ... limited in scope to nutritional and dietary information".

Salt limits

Congress is preventing the Agriculture Department from putting into effect any rule cutting sodium levels in federally provided meals "until the latest scientific research establishes the reduction is beneficial for children."

Menu labels

The FDA delayed its plan to require restaurants to add calorie counts to menus. The bill makes sure the calorie counts stay off menus for now.

Gene editing

Some members of Congress were horrified by reports about an easier way to genetically modify plants and animals called gene editing. The bill specifically prohibits FDA from even looking at a plan to genetically modify a human embryo. Experts say this effectively bars even a private company from trying to market such a treatment since it would need FDA approval if it were used on an embryo intended to create a pregnancy. It wouldn't stop privately funded lab research, however.

Gun research

"None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control," the bill reads. Health agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have taken this over the years as a warning not to undertake any research on gun deaths.

GMO Salmon

FDA won't be able to allow the sale of genetically modified salmon until it has a plan for labeling the fish. And out of FDA's budget "not less than $150,000 shall be used to develop labeling guidelines and implement a program to disclose to consumers whether salmon offered for sale to consumers is a genetically engineered variety." When FDA approved GM salmon last month it said companies didn't have to label it, provoking the fury of anti-GMO groups.


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