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House Committee increases NIH funds, cuts ONC by 29%

The House Appropriations Committee released Thursday its draft funding bill for fiscal year 2019. It includes investments in National Institutes of Health and cuts the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT funding. 

Again, this year – for the fourth consecutive year, funds for the NIH got a boost to the tune of $1.25 billion, for a total of $38.3 billion. The committee, meanwhile, reduced funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT by $17.7 million, a 29 percent cut that would put ONC’s annual operating budget at $42.7 million for fiscal year 2019. 

NIH funds will go to medical research programs, efforts to stem opioid abuse and support the search for cures for many cancers and diseases, as well as job training and protections against health threats such as pandemics and bio-threats.

Specifically, the bill provides increases for several critical research initiatives: $2.25 billion for Alzheimer’s, $528 million for combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, $437 million for the All of Us research initiative, $400 million, for the Cancer Moonshot research initiative, $366 million for Institutional Development Awards, $130 million to develop a universal influenza vaccine. 

Having been approved by the subcommittee, the bill is forwarded to the full committee, usually without further explanation.

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