We are pleased that the President’s FY16 budget proposal calls for the elimination of sequestration and starts an overdue conversation about better aligning resources for public health and medical progress, given their importance to the American people and to the health of our economy. It is critical that we ramp up initiatives that focus on precision medicine, Alzheimer’s, antimicrobial resistance and other growing health threats, but these investments should supplement, not supplant, the imperative of making up for a decade’s worth of lost ground. We believe that Congress and the White House can, and must, unify behind the vision encapsulated in the bipartisan Accelerating Biomedical Research Act. Medical progress is not just a health imperative, it is a strategic imperative, integral to national security, fiscal stability and economic progress. Leaders on both sides of the aisle clearly appreciate that the time is now to turn ideas into reality. It may be a truism, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Medical progress and public health and preparedness require the interplay of medical and health research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Resources for these agencies must be increased to reflect the priority Americans assign to better health and economic prosperity. The President’s funding increases for the CDC and the FDA are a move in the right direction but more is needed. The increase for the NSF will enhance the work of partner agencies and have a long-term and significant impact in unraveling the mysteries of the brain, a critical stepping stone for creating pathways to new treatments and therapies. But we’re disappointed that AHRQ, the agency responsible for reducing medical errors and inefficiencies, received underwhelming support. This is a move in the wrong direction. We urge Congress to support robust and sustained funding for all federal health agencies to realize the potential of medical innovation.