Investing in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health not only saves lives and boosts the economy, it also has an intensely personal impact right here at home. Until her death in 2010 my mom was one of the estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans living with Parkinson’s disease, and each month I meet with a group of 12 young-onset Parkinson’s patients. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, or treatment to halt its cruel progression.
NIH is the single largest funder of medical research in the United States, and the research it funds drives innovation and has the potential to improve the lives of millions of Americans. I was disappointed to learn that President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2013 budget holds NIH funding at its current level, with no increase or adjustment for inflation. With the threat of future cuts looming, federal investment in biomedical research — and the grants NIH gives to research institutions here in New York — are critical not just to jobs and our state’s economy, but to the future of millions of New York patients and their families and caregivers.
I call on Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to support increased funding to at least $32 billion for the NIH. A sustained investment in research is not simply good policy — it makes sound fiscal sense. As a resident of New York I want to reduce the federal budget deficit, but not at the cost of future cures and breakthrough discoveries that may save millions of lives and, in the long run, taxpayer dollars.