Funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will be cut by about $2.4 billion or at least 8% in January 2013 as a result of automatic across-the-board cuts (or sequestration) required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. These reductions would be in addition to any made in the regular funding process for fiscal year 2013. Right after the election, advocates Yolanda Dickerson, Mary Kay Ballasiotes, Neil Dorsey, and Dr. Joey Skelton joined government relations director, Betsy Vetter for a teleconference with Senator Kay Hagan’s health legislative assistant, Joshua Teitelbaum to discuss this issue.
The American Heart Association has been reaching out to members of Congress about this issue and time is running short for Congress to act. You can help by visiting www.researchsaveslives.org and sending an email to your lawmakers.
Federal investment in medical research through the NIH has decreased in both inflation-adjusted (constant) dollars and as a share of GDP nearly every year since 2003. The impact on jobs and economic activity is equally staggering: a $2.4 billion sequester could result in the loss of 33,000 jobs across the United States and a $4.5 billion decline in economic activity. Every $1 in NIH funding resulted in an extra $2.11 in economic activity in the U.S. in 2007.
Yolanda, Mary Kay, Neil and Dr. Skelton all emphasized that NIH funded research saves lives, informs health policy decisions and provides good jobs for our most talented citizens. A typical NIH grant supports about seven mainly high-tech full-time or part-time jobs. Dr. Skelton explained that he relies on NIH grant funding to continue his obesity prevention and treatment research. North Carolina is a top recipient of NIH grant funding, receiving over $1 billion in 2011. Learn more about this issue by visiting: www.reasearchsaveslives.org.
Advocates were pleased to hear that Senator Hagan supports the NIH. Despite the positive conversation, all agreed that lawmakers must continue to hear from constituent about the importance of protecting this funding from the sequester cuts. So don’t forget to visit www.researchsaveslives.org and send your message today.