Eshoo Introduces American HEALS Act
Bill Would Reinvest in America’s Biomedical Research Initiatives
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the American HEALS (Helping Encourage Advancements in Lifesaving Science) Act¸ legislation to expand support for future research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense Health Program (DHP), and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. A companion bill was recently introduced in the Senate by Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). With stagnant federal investment in biomedical research threatening the standing of the U.S. as a leader in discovery, innovation and global competitiveness, Rep. Eshoo believes that an investment in biomedical research is a critical investment in our nation’s future.
“Investment in biomedical research, including at the National Institutes of Health, is at unprecedented lows, jeopardizing our national health and preventing future breakthroughs,” Eshoo said. “More than half of basic research funding in the U.S. comes from the federal government, yet we spend two-thirds less on research and development than we did in 1965. A trust fund for our biomedical research agencies can reverse this dangerous trend and ensure that the United States is the leader in scientific discovery.”
In 2011, fifty-three percent of all funding for basic research came from the federal government, yet as a percentage of the total federal budget, the federal government spends two-thirds less on research and development today than it did in 1965. At NIH – the foremost biomedical research institute in the world – the number of research grants the agency is able to fund has declined every year over the past 10 years.
The American HEALS Act would reverse that trend by augmenting federal appropriations for biomedical research with a mandatory trust fund dedicated to steady growth in research conducted at NIH, CDC, DHP, and the Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program. The bill would increase funding for each agency and program every year at a rate of GDP-indexed inflation plus five percent. This steady, long-term investment would allow the agencies to plan and manage strategic growth while maximizing efficiencies.
Making a serious, sustained investment in federally-funded biomedical research is especially critical as countries around the world are placing a priority on their own research investments. Between 1999 and 2009, Asia’s share of worldwide research and development expenditures grew from 24 percent to 32 percent, while American expenditures fell from 38 percent to 31 percent. In the meantime, the European Union has committed to a five-year plan to boost biomedical research.
Rep. Eshoo was a leader in the effort to double the NIH’s budget in the 1990’s and supported the one-time infusion of $10 billion appropriated to the agency under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While these increases were critical investments in research and our economy, a sustained investment will ensure continuity of research, attract more young scientists through robust grant opportunities, and bring new treatments to millions of Americans who need it most.
A copy of the bill text can be found here.
The American HEALS Act is supported by:
AIDS Alliance for Children, Youth and Families
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Association of Immunologists
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Inc.
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association
American Society of Transplantation (AST)
Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service
Digestive Disease National Coalition
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
GBS/CIDP Foundation International
Interstitial Cystitis Association
Loyola University of Chicago
Lung Cancer Alliance
National Alopecia Areata Foundation
National Kidney Foundation
National Marfan Foundation
National Minority AIDS Council
National Rural Health Association
Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Society for Public Health Education
Spina Bifida Association
The AIDS Institute
The Endocrine Society
University Of Chicago
University Of Illinois