Senators Seek To Boost Biomedical Research Funds Amid Ebola Crisis
Prompted by the Ebola outbreak, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) are working on a proposal to increase federal biomedical research spending by about $1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The proposal comes after nearly a decade of flat funding for scientific and medical research, according to the Journal. When factoring in inflation, such funding actually has declined. For example, NIH funding has declined by 25% since 2003 when considering inflation.
Funding constraints have compromised progress, according to the Journal. For example, NIH officials have said that an Ebola vaccine, on which they have been working since 2001, would be one to two years closer to completion had agency budgets not been cut.
The senators' proposal would distribute an additional $1 billion annually to five federal agencies over 10 years. About three-quarters of the funding would go to NIH, while the remainder would go to CDC, FDA, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The senators have not finalized the proposal's details. Specifically, they are still determining how to offset the proposal's $10 billion cost.
Hatch and Warren hope Congress will consider the proposal, once it is completed, after midterm elections (Peterson/Armour, Wall Street Journal, 10/23).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.