Funding for NIH and Health IT Moves Forward in Congress

February 10, 2009

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As the debate to reform health care progresses, funding for both the National Institute of Health (NIH) and Health Care Information Technology have been included in the economic stimulus package being considered by Congress.

The House of Representatives passed their version of the economic stimulus package last week. The House package allocates $2 billion for the NIH for new agency research grants and facility repair, and $20 billion for health care information technology.

The Senate, still working on their own economic stimulus package, recently passed an amendment proposed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) that calls for an additional $6.5 billion for NIH. Regarding health care information technology, the Senate includes $3 million on top of the $20 billion from the House proposal, though parts of that issue still remain subject to amendment.

Once the Senate votes on their version of the bill, the two versions will be reconciled and sent back to each chamber for a final vote. Congressional leaders have said they hope to come to an agreement and send a final package to President Obama's desk by the middle of February.

Academy members are encouraged to join the more the 420 colleagues who have already contacted their members of Congress to ask that any economic stimulus package include more than $1.2 billion for NIH research. Members can log on to Vocus, using their ID numbers and password, to send their message.

For questions or comments, please contact Mike Amery, Legislative Counsel, at mamery@aan.com or at (202) 349-4299.

Read Mike's Capitol Hill Report.