American Heart Association President Mariell Jessup, M.D., issued the following comment today on President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015:

“With a meager 1 percent increase over last year, President Obama’s proposed budget for the National Institutes of Health is utterly inadequate. Especially when you consider that the NIH has lost more than 20 percent of its purchasing power over the past decade due to medical research inflation. What is basically flat funding will keep the NIH on a downward spiral that will further jeopardize research progress.

Without sufficient investment in research, cures for prevalent and costly diseases such as heart disease and stroke will be delayed. This is particularly troubling because as our nation’s population ages, nearly 44 percent of the public is likely to face some form of cardiovascular disease by 2030 – a disturbing projection. Now is not the time to hold back on the NIH funding needed to support lifesaving medical discoveries.

What’s even more of a concern is that flat funding comes at a time of heightened scientific opportunity. Other countries have figured out that economic growth is tied to innovation and are increasing their investment in scientific research. Russia is planning a 65 percent increase, while China’s funding has grown 26 percent and India has boosted its research budget by double digits.

While we appreciate the president’s gesture to provide supplemental funding to NIH through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, there is almost no chance Congress will approve the additional support this year. As the annual budget process moves forward, the American Heart Association will continue to advocate for federal funding that will restore the remainder of the sequester cuts and provide for at least modest growth of the NIH’s budget.”