Monday, April 18, 2011

Endgame for FY 2011

On Friday, President Obama signed off on the budget deal brokered with Congress. The final tally was $38.5 billion in discretionary cuts, although even the CBO has questioned this number.

How did health research fare? We’ve seen better days. The NIH and NSF were both cut by 1.2%, about $300M and $60M respectively. The Agency for Healthcare Research and quality was cut by $25M or 6%, while the FDA was actually provided with $107M increase. The CDC has been hit with the worst of the cuts to health research, totaling $820M – a cut of nearly 13%.

So let’s think about this. At a time when our deficit is being driven by the cost of healthcare and American business is losing its competitiveness to pay for healthcare, our government has decided that prevention is not a priority. Cutting the CDC might save us $820M (0.0002% of total federal spending) in the short run, but how will those cuts impact our health, our deficit, and our economy in five years?

Some have suggested that this budget deal could have been much worse. The budget that was previously passed by the House and defeated by the Senate, HR 1, contained much deeper discretionary cuts that would have been devastating to health research and science.

Now that FY 2011 has come to a conspicuous end, Congress and the White House have already begun to set their sights on FY 2012 and beyond. Paul Ryan recently released his budget plan, ‘The Path to Prosperity’, and President Obama has put forth a plan entitled the ‘President’s Framework for Shared Prosperity and Shared Fiscal Responsibility.’

Which plan do you support?

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  1. I'm sad to see the NIH cut, but not the CDC. They are a worthless waste of taxpayer money and should be shut down.

  2. Unfortunately, CDC doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves by policymakers or the press, leaving the wrong impression about its many contributions to the nation’s health. For example, CDC finances local health departments throughout the country that distribute flu and other vaccines, track and reduce the transmission rates of infectious diseases, and control local outbreaks of food-borne illness, drug-resistant infections, and other emerging health threats. CDC also plays a critical role in pandemic and in bioterrorism preparedness. And CDC conducts epidemiological and other research that helps the health care community identify and find solutions to such public health problems as premature births and and type 2 diabetes. We recently completed a fact sheet on CDC that I hope you find useful. You can read the full fact sheet here: