U.S. Encourages Evidence-based Medicine in Economic Stimulus

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Last week, I implored you to urge your congressional members to Support Biomedical Research in the Economic Stimulus Package. The message was clearly received as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which President Obama signed today, includes $10 billion USD for biomedical research into cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart disease. The stimulus bill also includes significant support for updating U.S. healthcare systems and over a billion dollars for evidence-based medicine research.

Funding in the economic recovery package with respect to biomedical research and healthcare is as follows:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH): $10 billion, which includes $8.2 billion to the Office of the Director ($7.4 billion for distribution to the institutes and centers and $800 million for the Office of the Director for trans-NIH initiatives), $1.3 billion to the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) ($1 billion for “competitive awards for the construction and renovation of extramural research facilities” and $300 million for shared instrumentation and other capital equipment) and $500 million for improvements to the NIH campus.
  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $3 billion for “basic research in fundamental science and engineering”, including $2.5 billion for highly-rated peer reviewed research proposals, $400 million for construction of and equipment in national labs, and $100 million for improving instruction in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ): $1.1 billion for comparative effectiveness research; $400 million will be transferred to the NIH to support comparative effectiveness research. The remaining balance will be used for comparative research of drugs, devices and medical procedures.
  • Prevention and Wellness Fund: $1 billion, of which some portion will be allocated to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In addition, a large part of the stimulus package will be used to modernize healthcare systems to lower costs and save lives:

  • $86.6 billion to help states with Medicaid.
  • $24.7 billion to provide a 65% subsidy of healthcare insurance premiums for the unemployed under the COBRA program.
  • $19 billion to modernize health information technology systems.
  • $1 billion to repair and renovate Veterans Administration medical facilities.

Science Progress has tallied total funding of Science in the Stimulus for a number of science-related research and development programs. You can track the progress of the stimulus package at a new web site dedicated to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Recovery.gov features a link to the full text of the Act and a timeline for various milestones.

The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) President Richard Marchase, Ph.D. shared his hope for continued support earlier this week [1]:

Ultimately, it is our hope that the economic recovery package is the first step forward towards a long-term, sustainable investment in both biomedical and other scientific research. Stable and predictable budget growth will expedite the research that will improve the health and quality of life of all Americans.

The administration’s commitment to scientific research will become clear later this month when the revised FY 2009 budget is released. Currently, the NIH is running on extended funding at 2008 levels through March 6th, 2009.


  1. FASEB Praises Inclusion of NIH, NSF, DOE Science Funding in Stimulus. FASEB press release. 2009 Feb 12.

Additional information was collected from the following sources:

  1. Recovery.gov. Accessed 2009 Feb 17.
  2. Download the Stimulus Bill. ProPublica. 2009 Feb 13.
  3. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Investing in Science. Representative Rush Holt, the 12th District of New Jersey. Accessed 2009 Feb 17.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.