The increase for the National Institutes of Health in the President's FY 2012 budget is a welcome sign that the Administration remains committed to science and innovation. The additional funding gives the nearly 83 million adults in the U.S. who live with the consequences of heart disease, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease reasons for hope and optimism. We realize, however, that any proposed increases to the NIH budget face an uphill battle on Capitol Hill in this tough economic climate.

We're concerned that proposals from House appropriators to slash NIH's budget by $1 billion in the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution will potentially slam the brakes on the next medical breakthroughs in heart and stroke research. Instead of cutting back on our ability to improve the lives of our citizens, Congress should invest in the NIH that can lead to new ways to prevent and treat diseases, to develop critical technologies and, by the way, create excellent jobs in our universities and research institutes. If Congress does not make a strong investment in NIH, we will fall even further behind other industrialized nations in unleashing scientific discoveries that could improve the treatment and prevention of chronic and debilitating diseases afflicting millions of Americans.

Regarding changes in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we believe that any consolidation of the CDC's state chronic disease programs must be designed to ensure more predictable and adequate funding of these activities in all 50 States as well as a more targeted focus, outcomes that are measurable, and higher level of accountability. As we address increasing rates of obesity, hypertension and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke, funding for evidence-based prevention strategies and acute care programs must remain a priority. To preserve the best elements of existing state programs, any consolidation should preserve work across the full spectrum of prevention and acute care programs - based on the needs within each state.

Unfortunately, the President's budget does not include funding for HRSA's Rural and Community Access to Emergency Devices (AED) program which provides states with resources to buy AEDs, trains lay rescuers and first responders in their use, and places AEDs in public locations where sudden cardiac arrest is likely to strike. As the budget process moves forward, we urge Congress to restore funding for the program to its FY 2005 level of $8.9 million.

American Heart Association, Inc.

Tag Cloud