Earlier this month we learned that the United States House of Representatives wants to increase funding for life-saving medical research conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and public health programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
If NIH and CDC funding sounds familiar to you, that’s because it has been a focal point for You’re the Cure (YTC) grassroots actions for quite some time. Earlier this year, YTC advocates banded together and sent thousands of messages to their Representatives and Senators asking for a $2 billion increase in NIH funding and additional support for the CDC’s Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Programs. The House Appropriations Labor-HHS-ED Subcommittee recently revealed that they listened and have put forth a bill that would give heart and stroke advocates more money for cures!
In the proposed bill, NIH would receive a $2 billion increase in medical research funding and the CDC a $921 million increase. Thanks in large part to the activism of YTC advocates they are proposing to give us EXACTLY WHAT WE ASKED FOR!
The House bill also takes a major step to address cardiovascular disease in women by MORE THAN DOUBLING FUNDING FOR THE CDC’S WISEWOMAN PROGRAM. This will expand WISEWOMAN services to all 50 states and the District of Columbia and allow more uninsured and underinsured women to access heart disease and stroke preventive screenings, counseling, and referral services.
While we welcome the news that many U.S. Representatives share our bipartisan desire to prioritize medical research and public health funding, these budget levels are far from guaranteed. If we want to realize our goal and have the proposed increases signed by the President, we will need YTC advocates to stay engaged on this issue as it moves through Congress.
As the House of Representatives moves forward with this bill, our attention will turn to the Senate. We have heard rumors that Senate Appropriators will not be nearly as generous with their funding allocations. Reports from Washington DC indicate that the Senate will begin to work on their appropriations bill in June. If the rumors are true, and the Senate does not plan to increase life-saving medical research funding then YTC advocates will need to once again come together and make their voices heard, demanding that our Senators make cardiovascular disease research and prevention funding a priority.
We have been told that additional funding for CDC programs, specifically the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention; WISEWOMAN; Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity; and Smoking Control initiatives could be in jeopardy so we will need to be especially watchful when the Senate releases their version of the bill.
The BIG increases proposed in the proposed House legislation is proof of the power of grassroots activism so when the time comes please be ready to make your voices heard once again when we contact the Senate.
But for now, pat yourself on the back and say job well done because the first step in the process was a MAJOR victory for heart and stroke advocates across the country!