This trend has continued until the present.
Despite the NIH’s budget remaining stagnant for years, not even compensating for inflation, Bush has decided to wield the presidential veto against an increase in just $1 billion for the next fiscal year. The bill also contained new open-access legislation– a mandate for any government-funded manuscript to be submitted to PubMed for full text open-access within one year. The veto seemed more a response to the budget increase rather than the open access issue, which is not surprising given Bush’s own fiscal, uh, issues. But, for comparison, the US spends $43 billionon military intelligence alone
There is an excellent editorial in The Journal of Life Sciences which sums up my feelings quite well.
There are few things that give us a better return on our healthcare investment dollars than increased NIH funding. For every dollar the government spends on the NIH, private industry will, in general, spend two more to develop and commercialize the early research generated from the NIH investment. That research leads to new treatments for acute and chronic diseases that today cost Americans dearly. A $30 billion investment in NIH today seems a prudent choice when one considers that American households spend $582 billion annually on healthcare to fight those same diseases NIH funding is designed to tackle.
It is important to understand what a continued decline in NIH funding will mean for our aging U.S. population. Our national health expenditures are projected to exceed $4 trillion by 2015; the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease among baby boomers alone is expected to cost the federal government more than $1 trillion. And of course, as anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from a chronic disease can tell us, the cost to society cannot be measured only in dollars.