What Does the President’s 2013 Budget Mean for Trop Med/Global Health Funding?
The Budget Overall
On February 13, the President released his administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget outlining his priorities for the agencies. This signals the start of the funding process.
The total budget came in at $3.8 trillion, slightly above an estimated $3.78 trillion in spending for FY 2012. Most of the increases were seen in areas the President highlighted during his State of the Union Address: American manufacturing and infrastructure, jobs and education. Given the spending caps set forth in last year’s budget deal, the Department of Defense faced cuts in many of its programs. Health programs did not see the increases many were hoping for, with the NIH remaining almost level funding and the CDC taking a significant overall cut.
Implications for Tropical Medicine/Global Health
What does this mean for trop med/global health funding? The news is mixed. NIH funding overall is flat with a .68 percent increase. There is a slight increase for the Fogarty International Center and a slight decrease for NIAID. The new NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), which may play a role in product development research for neglected tropical diseases, received a 10 percent bump in funding from its FY 2012 allocation. NCATS is a research-based center aimed at aiding the product development pipeline for diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide range of diseases and conditions.
CDC fared poorly in the President’s budget, with an overall $600 million cut in discretionary funding. Many trop med/global health programs, including malaria, HIV/AIDS and global disease detection programs, all saw small cuts. However, CDC’s global health program increased by about 3 percent from last year’s levels. The Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases program saw almost a 30 percent increase over the FY 2012 appropriated level. Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases houses CDC’s vector-borne disease program, which, although it does not have a funding line of its own, remains a priority for CDC, according to language in the federal budget. In fact, CDC directly responded to language that ASMTH had inserted into the FY 2012 appropriations bills stating the need for continued monitoring and surveillance of potentially new pathogens.
Some of the most devastating blows to global health came in the USAID budget. The USAID Global Health and Child Survival account (where most of the bilateral global health programs are housed) was cut about 4.6 percent from FY 2012 levels, resulting in cuts throughout most of the programs, including NTDs, malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB. Of those, NTDs took the largest hit, with an almost 25 percent cut proposed to its already small budget. Malaria funding fell back to FY 11 levels. In what can best be described as robbing Peter (bilateral funding) to pay Paul (multi-lateral funding), the Global Fund to Fight AIDS/TB and Malaria saw an almost 60 percent increase in its funding to ensure that the U.S. fulfills its commitment and to make up for past years of lagging funding.
Congress will have much to say about what the final numbers will look like. Over the coming weeks, ASTMH will be engaged with our partners in the global health community to formalize a response to the President’s budget proposal and devise an appropriations strategy to advocate for our priorities before Congress. The champion for science, former Congressman John Edward Porter, stated this week that, “this is a very, very tough time for NIH,” and that researchers must talk to members of Congress about why their work is important for health and the health of the U.S. economy. Stay tuned for updates and action requests from ASTMH. Weigh in with Congress to protect essential research and development funding for global health. It makes a difference.