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Task Force Comprising Over 50 Groups Urges Congress To Complete the Commitment to NIH

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More than 50 not-for-profit research and patient-support organizations urged Congress to meet President Bush’s leadership by completing the commitment to double the NIH budget. In a joint report released today, the 2002 Task Force for Aging Research Funding stated that Congress must match President Bush’s leadership by adopting $27.3 billion in appropriations for biomedical and behavioral research for fiscal year 2003, therefore completing their 5 year commitment to doubling the NIH budget.

According to the report, the unprecedented aging of the American population alone would justify such an aggressive investment in physical and mental health science.

“There’s a Senior Boom coming and it could drive health care costs upwards for most of this century,” said Daniel Perry, executive director of the Alliance for Aging Research, which helped organize the Task Force. “Research today could cure, prevent or postpone many diseases of aging, and that’s the best answer for a growing U.S. older population,” Perry added.

In less than 10 years, America’s oldest Baby Boomers will begin swelling the Medicare rolls. By the year 2030, some 75 million people – twice as many as today – will be at least 65 years of age. Half of that population, in fact, will be 75 and older. It is estimated that health costs of the oldest and sickest of that population could increase six-fold with the pending Senior Boom.

National organizations, such as the American Diabetes Association, Research!America, American Heart Association, The National Council on Spinal Cord Injury, and the American Psychological Association endorse the report and its recommendations. The report is being disseminated to Members of Congress and other policymakers as part of a coordinated campaign to boost disease prevention research.

Specifically, the Task Force for Aging Research Funding is urging Congress to:

  • Uphold a National Commitment to Medical Research by appropriating $27.3 billion in fiscal year 2003, thus reaching the intended 1998 goal of doubling the NIH budget in five years.
  • Make age-related research a greater priority since 70 million people will be aged 65 or older by 2030; this will render a large portion of the population vulnerable to age-related diseases as, at age 50, the risk for many age-related conditions begins to double every five to seven years.
  • Increase awareness of the potential opportunities for healthier aging, made possible by the complete sequencing of the human genome.The Task Force Report was made possible by an unrestricted grant from the Retirement Research Foundation. Based in Chicago, the Research Retirement Foundation is the nation’s largest private foundation devoted solely to aging and retirement issues. Established in 1978 by John D. MacArthur, its grants support programs, research and policy addressing aging and retirement issues.

    [Editor’s Notes: Interviews with Daniel Perry may be arranged by calling 202.293.2856. Copies of the 2002 Task Force for Aging Research Funding Report may be obtained by calling 202.293.2856 or on this website www.agingresearch.org]