National Institutes of HOPE
Robust research is medicine’s field of dreams — from which we will one day be able to harness the cures for now-chronic and deadly diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease and cancer.
It’s the kind of research they do at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). But right now, that field is starting to wither — not because the research is drying up, but because Congress is choking off the nourishment it needs to thrive.
Disastrous sequestration cuts, coupled with inflation, have hit NIH funding especially hard. Today, the NIH’s ability to fund critical research has dropped 20 percent compared to a decade ago. The success rate of scientists looking or NIH funding has dropped into the teens.
Meanwhile, the costs of treating patients, especially Baby Boomers, with diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, heart disease, or cancer — treatments for which NIH research could vastly improve — are going through the roof.
We cannot let medical science fall behind. That’s why restoring NIH funding is one of my top priorities. There is so much discovery left to do, if only we have the will to do it.
The NIH aren’t just the National Institutes of Health — they’re the National Institutes of HOPE.
I lost my mother to Alzheimer’s disease. For 13 years, my father took care of her at home. Millions of families today are in the midst of that same struggle — and research funded by the NIH is a glimmer of hope that could change their lives.
And if we don’t invest in progress, we’re going to pay for it. Literally. If we don’t make significant progress in Alzheimer’s treatment, we’ll wind up paying an estimated $1 trillion (in today’s dollars), including an estimated five fold increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending to treat Alzheimer’s patients by 2050. And that’s only one disease.
Every year, I fight to get increased NIH money into the federal budget. I wrote the first-ever law to create a national plan to cure and mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. I’m fighting right now to make sure that the NIH gets the attention — and the funding — it deserves in this year’s appropriations process.