February 1, 2010

Obama Budget Big On Health Spending

Health care research got a boost on Monday by way of President Barack Obama's proposed budget, with the National Institutes of Health in line for $1 billion earmarked for medical research.

The budget plan would also provide more than $25 billion over six months to help boost Medicaid services. $1.4 billion is proposed for food safety concerns and 3 billion dollars for AIDS research and prevention. The proposed budget will also address health and food issues in other countries, and for research of neglected diseases in poorer countries.

The National Institutes of Health are getting most of the money to put toward basic medical research. The budget actually reads: "To accelerate progress in biomedical research, NIH investments will focus on priority areas including genomics, translational research, science to support health care reform, global health, and reinvigorating the biomedical research community."

In basic English, translational research refers to basic medical research done in lab dishes or animal models that will be made into actual applications that can help people, and genomics has to do with the study of DNA.

NIH would be more suited with finding quicker "real-world" applications for research, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins told Reuters in an interview last month. He said that NIH could do more for the improvement of the US Healthcare system. Conducting comparative effectiveness research would be one key goal in finding what treatments work better than others.

The total proposed budget for NIH would be increased to $32 billion in 2011, up from $31 billion this year, and $30 billion last year. Another $286 million is proposed for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to also do comparative effectiveness research.

The State Department would receive more money for the Global Health Initiative. Under the programs of global health and child survival research, an estimated $7.8 billion is proposed in 2010 and $8.5 billion for 2011. Key issues in the proposal cover reducing "mortality rates of mothers and children under 5, avoid unintended pregnancies, and work toward the elimination of some neglected tropical diseases."

Obama made good on his promise last year to assign money for autism. In the proposed budget on Monday, included is $222 million for autism research. It is estimated that one in 110 U.S. children are diagnosed with autism or related disorders, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


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