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Funding for the future

For decades, medical research — and the cures and treatments it has discovered — have meant hope for millions of Americans living with disease and disability. But in recent years, those hopes have been clouded as Congress continues to significantly underfund the National Institutes of Health.

The funding agreement for the 2015 fiscal year that Congress approved recently does little to improve the situation. The agreement appropriately includes a boost in funding for Ebola research, but it provides only a small increase in funding for the rest of the NIH’s budget — which was cut by a disabling $1.7 billion two years ago and has been largely flat over the past 10 years. The small increase for 2015 — about one-half of 1 percent — won’t allow NIH funding to even keep pace with inflation.

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