Newswise — Washington, DC (May 23, 2017) - The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) denounces the Administration's proposed FY 2018 budget which, if enacted, drastically cuts funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $7 billion, a more than 20 percent reduction from current levels. ASN has consistently maintained that NIH funding cuts of this unprecedented magnitude would disrupt medical research and impede the development of innovative treatments for the 40 million Americans living with kidney diseases.
Recognizing the intense burden people with kidney failure face, Congress committed in 1972 to provide care for every American with kidney failure regardless of age or income. The Medicare program today spends $103 billion on care for all kidney diseases, and a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report highlighted that Medicare annually spends approximately $33 billion on care for people with kidney failure alone equal to the entire annual FY 2017 NIH budget of $33 billion.
ASN believes that the proposed cuts as outlined in the Administration's FY 2018 budget would only increase the economic burden that kidney diseases have on our healthcare system, and on the millions of kidney patients and their families. By delaying the development of groundbreaking therapies, an increasing number of individuals will continue to require dialysis and opportunities for economic growth will be missed as people with kidney diseases leave the workforce prematurely.
ASN urges Congress to defend America's position as the global leader in medical research by rejecting these proposed cuts to medical research. We thank Congress for its support for NIH funding in the FY 2017 budget, and request a $2 billion increase for NIH over the FY 2017 level for FY 2018, with a proportional increase for the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
The society is also concerned about the devastating effect the proposed cuts will have on critical programs that support America'ss most vulnerable populations, including elimination of $1.3 billion of key initiatives within the Centers for Disease Control, and significant cuts to Medicaid and to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health. The cumulative effect of these cuts will have long term consequences for populations that struggle with disproportionately high rates of kidney diseases.
Now is the time to invest in NIH research and maintain our momentum in discovering and developing cures for kidney diseases. Now is the time to offer 40 million Americans with kidney diseases hope for a healthy future.
Since 1966, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 17,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit asn-online.org or contact us at 202-640-4660.
# # #