Federal funding for basic research is an essential step towards achieving medical progress for heart and stroke patients. Over the past decades, we have seen remarkable breakthroughs done at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), such as the development of pacemakers and the discovery of a clot-busting drug used to treat stroke.
However, during the last ten years, the NIH has lost more than 20% of its purchasing power. This dramatic downturn has come at a time when other countries are increasing investments in science and when the need for innovation to prevent, diagnose, and treat heart disease and stroke is great.
But we can change that by exercising our right to vote in November! To help voters choose candidates whose values on medical research align with their own, the American Heart Association has partnered with Research!America to launch the 2014 Ask Your Candidates! initiative – a national, non-partisan voter education program that empowers voters to be more informed about their candidates’ views on medical progress. If elected to Congress, what will your candidates do to ensure that discoveries of life-altering or live-saving treatments or cures continue? Will they support funding increases for the NIH? The answers to these questions is crucial as the nation prepares to go to the voting booth in November.
How can you get involved? Here a couple ways:
1) Visit www.askyourcandidates.org and complete an online form that will assist you in sending a message to your candidates to find out how they view the future of medical progress. It’s easy and only takes a few minutes.
2) Keep an eye out on your candidates' websites, newsletters and social media pages for information about town hall meetings they are hosting in your community! If you decide to attend, go ahead and ask a question of about research. We have provided some sample questions for you to customize.
- As a stroke survivor, I am very concerned that the National Institutes of Health continues to invest a mere 1% of its budget in stroke research, despite promising research opportunities. What will you do to secure an increase in funding for stroke, the No. 4 killer and a major cause of permanent disability in the United States?
- As a heart disease survivor, I am very concerned that the National Institutes of Health continues to invest only 4% of its budget in heart research, despite promising research opportunities. What will you do to secure an increase in NIH funding for heart disease, the No. 1 killer and a major cause of disability in the United States?
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests in every state and in 90% of congressional districts, including our own. In addition to saving lives, NIH is an economic driver, supporting high paying jobs, spurring innovation, and maintaining our Nation’s position as the world leader in medical research. But, over the last decade, NIH has lost 20% of its purchasing power at a time of heightened scientific opportunity and when other countries are increasing their investment in research—some by double digits. What will you do to reverse this trend?
Medical research done at the NIH is crucial for the future of our country’s health and economy. Let’s see where our candidates stand on this important issue before heading to the polls in November!