NAEVR Submits Written Testimony to Senate and House LHHS Appropriations Subcommittees Supporting FY2011 NIH Funing at $35 Billion

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
[email protected]

NAEVR SUBMITS WRITTEN TESTIMONY TO SENATE AND HOUSE LHHS APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEES SUPPORTING FY2011 NIH FUNDING AT $35 BILLION

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) submitted written testimony to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittees of the Senate and House supporting Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding at $35 billion. This level, which reflects net NIH funding in FY2009 and FY2010 due to increased “regular” and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) appropriations, is $3 billion more than proposed by President Obama and $4 billion more than baseline FY2010 NIH funding, absent ARRA.

NAEVR noted that $35 billion in FY2011 NIH funding would translate into a National Eye Institute (NEI) funding level of $794.5 million. NAEVR urged that, if Congress cannot fund NIH/NEI at those levels, it at least improve upon the President’s proposed 2.5 percent increase in NEI funding such that it matches the 3.2 percent inflation rate, thereby avoiding further erosion in purchasing power which had already declined by 18 percent in the FY2003-2008 timeframe. NAEVR commented that:

“In 2009, Congress spoke volumes in passing S. Res 209 and H. Res, 366, which acknowledged NEI’s 40th anniversary and designated 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision, in which the majority of 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 years of age and face greatest risk of aging eye disease. This is not the time for a less-than-inflationary increase that nets a loss in the NEI’s purchasing power, especially since its research is resulting in treatments and therapies that save vision and restore sight, which can reduce healthcare costs, maintain productivity, ensure independence, and enhance quality of life.”

The testimony identified specific examples of research funded by both increased “regular” and ARRA appropriations and highlighted the potential impact of each in terms of addressing the nation’s major vision challenges—an aging population, the disproportionate incidence of eye disease in fast-growing minority populations, and the visual impact of chronic disease, such as diabetes. NAEVR also emphasized that NEI’s portfolio of basic, translational, epidemiological, and comparative effectiveness research addresses NIH’s top five priorities, as identified by Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.: genomics; translational research; comparative effectiveness; global health; and empowering the biomedical enterprise.
The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at www.eyeresearch.org.