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Dear Research Advocate: Budget Uncertainty Deepens The House Appropriations Committee has postponed this week’€™s scheduled consideration of the Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-H) funding measure. A New York Times article indicated that the bill protects NIH funding; but, given how low the overall spending number is for Labor-H, “protected” is most likely interpreted as the NIH being cut less than other agencies, themselves highly valued. The distance between the Senate (passed) and House (estimated) Labor-H appropriations ’€” in excess of 20% ’€” sets the stage for another continuing resolution (CR). What actually does happen next is uncertain, which is why advocacy is essential...
Dear Research Advocate: Budget Uncertainty Deepens The House Appropriations Committee has postponed this week’€™s scheduled consideration of the Labor-Health and Human Services (Labor-H) funding measure. A New York Times article indicated that the bill protects NIH funding; but, given how low the overall spending number is for Labor-H, “protected” is most likely interpreted as the NIH being cut less than other agencies, themselves highly valued. The distance between the Senate (passed) and House (estimated) Labor-H appropriations ’€” in excess of 20% ’€” sets the stage for another continuing resolution (CR). What actually does happen next is uncertain, which is why advocacy is essential...
By Shaun O’€™Brien, co-president of the Penn Science Policy Group. O’€™Brien is a fifth-year immunology graduate student at the Perelman School of Medicine (a Research!America member). Shaun O’€™Brien In response to the need to voice the concerns of young biomedical graduates and post-docs over the federal funding climate, graduate student Mike Allegrezza founded the Science Policy Group at the University of Pennsylvania. Over the past 6 months, our group has been involved in advocacy efforts along with examining other specific issues pertaining to careers, graduate education and other hot-button issues. In terms of advocacy, the group has been very active in opposing sequestration, the...
July 9, 2013 The Senate subcommittee markup of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education FY14 spending bill goes a step in the right direction in softening the blow sequestration has dealt to the hopes and expectations of patients and their families. Sequestration’€™s across-the-board spending cuts have sent no-confidence signals across the full ecosystem of medical research and innovation in the public and private sector. There’€™s a reason that, according to a recent national public opinion poll commissioned by Research!America, nearly half of Americans (48%) do not believe we are making enough progress in medical research in the U.S. This nation can’€™t push ahead forcefully with one...
Dear Research Advocate: Setting our nation’€™s sights high, rather than watching Rome burn; that’€™s the advice embedded in a recent op-ed authored by John R. Seffrin, PhD (CEO of the American Cancer Society and Research!America Board Member) and Michael Caligiuri, MD (CEO of the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Center Hospital and Solove Research Institute). The authors advocate establishing a national plan, one that puts political differences aside and focuses on combating deadly and tremendously costly disease. There is a compelling argument to be made that if our nation wants to sustain a balanced budget, it must deploy a disease moonshot. If our nation...
Dear Research Advocate: Yesterday, I joined Diane Rehm and other guests on her nationally syndicated radio program to discuss how sequestration impacts “ordinary Americans.” I was struck by how deep and distressing the damage is, in so many sectors, including but not limited to our own. Yet somehow the pain is not acute enough to force action. What strikes me is how low our collective expectations have sunk when it comes to reinvigorating U.S. economic growth and prosperity. Our nation can do better; why don’€™t we maintain high expectations and hold our elected officials accountable for setting the policy stage to accomplish them? Policy makers should protect discretionary spending, make...
Dear Research Advocate: I invite you to join me in speaking out during the Memorial Day congressional recess (May 27-31) as part of a social media campaign using the hashtag #curesnotcuts. Our goal is to continue to position research and innovation to improve health where it belongs: as a fundamental national priority that Americans can count on because their elected representatives rank it so highly. In our social media campaign, each day of the recess has a specific theme that can be customized with your information and patient/researcher stories. We have made it easy to get involved: click here to see sample social media messages, a list of selected congressional offices and their...
Dear Research Advocate, The President’€™s budget is out and it’€™s a mixed bag. First, the good news. NSF was given a significant funding boost, $593M over 2012 levels, NIH funding was increased by $470M, and AHRQ, via budget trade-offs, looks to have been boosted by $64M. The increases are from FY12 to FY14, since the President’s budget replaces sequestration in a different way than either Congressional body (see more below). The not so good news in the President’s budget is that other health research agencies did not fare well. The CDC budget was cut deeply, especially prevention programs. FDA was essentially flat -funded. And entitlement-reform may pose a challenge to innovation. The...
Dear Research Advocate, Yesterday, the House passed a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year that includes this year’€™s cuts from sequestration along with an additional one percent across-the-board cut. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration, where we are likely to see higher funding levels than the House version, but with sequestration still in place. Congress seems anxious to avoid the brinksmanship and the government shutdown threats that have characterized past debates. While the less rancorous environment surrounding the CR is a welcome change, the complacency around sequestration is not. As research advocates, we cannot let these cuts stand. Sequestration isn’€™t a...
Dear Research Advocate, To say that the attention paid to sequestration is extraordinary is to understate the case, but there has not been enough public outcry to force meaningful congressional action. It is highly unlikely that a rabbit will be pulled out of a hat between now and 11:59 p.m. tomorrow night. Damage will be done, and meanwhile the political playing field switches to a new month and new, related and ever-deepening crises. Possibly the only good news is that the media has ratcheted up coverage of the impact of sequestration on medical research, with stories about ’€œcuts on top of cuts on top of cuts,’€ in the words of Eric Hoffman of Children’€™s National Medical Center, one...

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Without research, there is no hope.
The Honorable Paul G. Rogers