As the Democrats and Republicans face off in an 11th-hour deadline to head off $85 billion in cuts to government funding, researchers and health care professionals are worried that there could be real implications and the possibility of people dying as a result of money being taken out of research.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) which funds the majority of biomedical research in the country and the national Science Foundation will lose millions of dollars in an environment where they have already cut many grants and programs because of previous funding cuts.
What does this mean for researchers?
The National Science Foundation, which funds 1/5 of all basic research at American universities will have to award 1,000 fewer research grants, affecting close to 12,000 people. This will affect the development of new technologies in clean energy, advances in manufacturing that hold the potential for job creation and funding for science education which drives our high tech economy.
The National Institutes of Health would lose $2.5 billion, which would set back lifesaving research in cancer, autoimmune diseases and regenerative medicine, to name a few projects.
The Center for Disease Control will see a 10 percent cut in funding which will mean layoffs and less monitoring of infectious diseases such as West Nile Virus, HIV, TB or even the new virus that has spread across the Middle East and the UK.
"Because of the key role federal R&D plays in driving U.S. innovation, productivity, and economic growth; we estimate that the projected decline in R&D will reduce GDP by between $203 billion and $860 billion over the nine year period, depending on the baseline used. At $203 billion, the loss is equivalent to taking away from U.S. consumers all the new motor vehicles purchase over six months, over two years of airline travel, or six years of attendance at professional sporting events."
"These R&D cuts will also result in job losses of approximately 200,000 in 2013. Reducing the budget deficit is important, but it should not and does not have to come at the expense of growth-inducing investments in areas like federal support for R&D. In fact, undermining growth capability is disruptive of a deficit control policy."
Additionally, research studies that aim to understand how to cut health care costs would be cut themselves and may end up costing the government and the American people more in the end.
For information from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation click here.
Published by Medicaldaily.com