The Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 federal budget is moving through the appropriations process on Capitol Hill, and the Parkinson’s community needs to be prepared to fight. Why?
This week, the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its FY 2013 funding allocations – the maximum spending amount allowed for each federal department – including the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Committee set top-line FY 2013 funding for the Departments of Labor and HHS at $150 billion. This is $7.7 billion lower than the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee-approved FY 2013 spending level. The Senate Appropriations Committee also this week announced flat funding for FY 2013 for the FDA. At the time of this writing, the House Appropriations Committee has not yet announced their FDA funding recommendations.
This means that funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Medicare, and Social Security – all of which are critically important to the Parkinson’s community – are at increased risk for funding cuts. While details of where cuts may come from have not yet been decided, it is likely that critical biomedical research and health care programs will be hurt.
The NIH is the world’s largest funder of biomedical research. A decrease in NIH funding doesn’t just hamper current work and jeopardize breakthroughs and jobs, it also could set the funding bar lower so that future years’ increases once again can’t keep pace with inflation, perpetuating an alarming trend. For the past nine years, NIH funding has not kept pace with inflation, let alone seen any marked increase that could make a real difference in medical breakthroughs and cures. In FY 2011, NIH funded $151 million in Parkinson’s disease-related research. We can’t afford for that number to go any lower.
In the weeks and months ahead, we expect congressional deliberations to continue, and we will call on you to reach out to Members of Congress and urge their support for the highest possible level of funding not just for NIH, but for all federal program areas that serve people with Parkinson’s and their families.
The Parkinson’s community is one of the leading voices on Capitol Hill on the importance of biomedical research funding. Check your email often, and know that we may need you to email and call your Members of Congress to fight for NIH and other funding. This may be our toughest year yet. We need your voice.