LTCI Watch: NIH

Opinion

Time flies. Time flies.

Francis Collins recently noted at a breakfast sponsored by Bloomberg that federal funding for the National Institutes of Health has held steady at about $27 billion since 2003.

The inflation-adjusted level of funding has dropped considerably.

That's absurd.

We have great new technology tools, such as high-speed gene sequencing and faster computers, for studying whatever it is that causes Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and other conditions that ruin millions of people's lives and lead to huge acute medical care and long-term care (LTC) costs.

There seem to be indications that, once we really understand how to prevent or cure one of those conditions, we may have a much easier time understanding and fighting the other conditions.

But, this year, consumers may spend more money on cellular phone apps than the NIH spends on research. 

One thing commenters have been saying at the meetings of the federal Alzheimer's panel is that the country needs to spend more money on basic Alzheimer's research.

Health and science ministers at the Group of Eight -- a group for rich countries -- have suggested that rich countries ought to spend 1 percent of dementia-related costs on dementia research. In the United States, that would mean quadrupling the dementia research budget to $2 billion, from $500 million.

It's time to bite the bullet, make some people angry (by increasing their taxes or taking their government money away) and do that. 

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About the Author
Allison Bell

Allison Bell

Allison Bell, LifeHealthPro.com Health Insurance Channel Editor, has been covering health insurance long enough to own a copy of the HIPAA conference report. She has a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She can be reached at abell@summitpronets.com or on Twitter @LHPro_Health.

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