Health services research and research in general is under attack in the name of austerity. Critical research funding will be lost without bipartisan action in Washington to balance the budget in a meaningful way. Congress needs to hear from you. And AcademyHealth has new tools to help you tell your lawmakers that research isn’t the problem, it’s the answer. Sequester Means Automatic Cuts of 8.2 Percent Last summer’s landmark debt ceiling agreement between President Obama and Congress—the Budget Control Act of 2011—set caps on discretionary spending over 10 years. These caps result in $1 trillion in cuts spread across defense and nondefense discretionary programs, including research. The new law also directed a congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to identify an additional $1.2 trillion in budget savings over 10 years. This so-called “Super Committee’s” failure to strike an agreement last fall means that instead of making tough choices on raising taxes and reforming entitlements—the true drivers of the debt—virtually all federal programs will see across-the board cuts starting on January 2, 2013 under a blunt, budgetary tool known as “sequestration.” In practical terms, sequestration means automatic, across-the-board cuts of 8.2 percent to research and other nondefense discretionary programs—in addition to cuts already sustained through the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps. Cuts to health services research are neither meaningful in the short run nor prudent in the long run. Health services research represents such a small share of federal, discretionary spending—about 0.1 percent—these cuts won’t contribute to deficit reduction by an appreciable amount. On the contrary, these cuts make it that much more likely that we’ll continue to spend increasingly more than we can afford on health care each year. Members of Congress know what they need to do to stop these cuts. They just haven’t yet mustered the political will to do it. It’s time to hold lawmakers accountable. Let them know that balancing the budget takes a balanced approach informed by—not funded by—research. Make Your Voice Heard AcademyHealth is now working with POPVOX to facilitate our constituent communications. POPVOX provides you an open, trusted (and nonpartisan) platform to take action on issues pending before Congress. Congressional staff and lawmakers then use POPVOX to take the pulse of their district and understand the voice of the people. We’ve created a widget with a sample e-mail message to help you tell your elected officials that cuts to health services research do more harm than good. You can access the widget HERE. We strongly encourage you to take action this week in conjunction with the Research!America “Cures, Not Cuts” campaign. AcademyHealth is pleased to partner with Research!America and others in the scientific community for this coordinated, nationwide week of action to tell Congress that continued cuts to research are not the answer. For more about the campaign, please visit You may also wish to reach your lawmakers through social media such as Twitter and Facebook. If you do, please use the hashtag #saveresearch!  

Blog comments are restricted to AcademyHealth members only. To add comments, please sign-in.