On February 9, 2016, the president released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Budget Request to Congress. This non-binding document outlines the administration’s spending priorities and serves as the ceremonial beginning to the annual appropriations process.
Following President Obama’s vocal support for medical research during his final State of the Union address and his announcement of a “Cancer Moonshot” headed by Vice President Joe Biden, the public health community was optimistic about the FY 2017 Budget Request. However, the proposal mainly focused recommendations for additional public health resources exclusively towards cancer programs. Research programs at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and public health initiatives at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for conditions like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
, muscular dystrophies, and neuropathies received requests for level or near-level funding. The President’s FY 2017 budget did focus significantly on waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system and the proposal outlined new and ongoing activities with the Department of Justice, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other stakeholders.
Despite the modest allocations in the FY 2017 budget request from the administration, patient organizations and professional societies remain confident that Congress will provide meaningful funding increases for NIH and medical research in general through the annual appropriations bills. During the FY 2016 appropriations process, Congress provided a $2 billion funding increase for NIH, and advocates are hopeful that legislators will provide at least a $2 billion funding increase again for FY 2017.
Below is a summary of key funding recommendations from the President’s FY 2017 Budget Request to Congress.
$33.136 billion for NIH program level, an increase of $825 million over FY 2016.
All NIH institutes and Centers at NIH are level funded with the exception of the National Cancer Institute, which receives an increase of $680 million for the “Cancer Moonshot.” The Office of the NIH Director also receives an additional $145 million for specific initiatives, such as the BRAIN Initiative and Precision Medicine.
$1.966 billion for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at NIH, level funded from FY 2016.
$1.695 billion for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke at NIH, level funded from FY 2016.
$542 million for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH, level funded from FY 2016.