CBO Warns of Fiscal Cliff

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released a report indicating that if Congress fails to renew the Bush/Obama era tax cuts and also does not develop an alternative to the automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect in January, the result on the economy would be  growth limited to 0.5% in 2013, likely driving the nation to a “fiscal cliff” and another recession. Further, the impact on the deficit from the expired tax cuts and decreased spending would be considerably diminished as a result of the costs associated with increased unemployment.

Both political parties have articulated a desire to both renew the tax cuts and replace across the board spending reductions with a more targeted approach. However, the November elections are looming over the legislative process, with little being accomplished at present. It remains a good time to communicate the importance of sustaining federal support for biomedical research to your Members of Congress, or more generally to urge your Members to support legislation to balance spending reductions with smart investments.

View the CBO Overview

White House Out with FY14 Budget Guidance

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has released guidance to federal agencies for the preparation for their FY14 budget submissions. The OMB memo conveys the president’s commitment to developing a Fiscal Year 2014 budget that is at or below the ceiling set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), which contained roughly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the FY12-21 period. The BCA achieves these reductions largely through across-the-board reductions in federal spending. While President Obama accepts the overall reduction in spending, his budget office has instructed agencies to assume that cuts will not be administered in an across-the-board fashion, but instead as a result of prioritizing agency activities. In the memo, OMB asked federal agency heads to assume a 5% reduction in FY14 below the amount budgeted for FY13. However, the memo indicates that certain agencies and activities will be treated more favorably; “The 2014 Budget must continue to cut lower-priority spending in order to create room for the effective investments in areas critical to economic growth and job creation, including education, innovation, infrastructure, and research and development.”

The numbers contained in the FY14 President’s Budget Request will largely depend on the results of the FY13 appropriations process now taking place on Capitol Hill and the presidential election in November. However, federal agencies must begin preparing budget submissions well in advance in order for the president (whoever he is) to be prepared to release a request in early February. If control of the White House changes, expect the new president to instruct agencies to rework much of the FY14 budget request with new guidelines and priorities.

OMB FY14 Memo to Federal Agencies

HRSA Seeking Supervisory Dental Officer

From the HRSA Division of Medicine and Dentistry, Oral Health Branch-

Dear Colleague,

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has just announced an opening for a Supervisory Dental Officer within its Bureau of Health Professions (BHPr), Division of Medicine and Dentistry (DMD).  For more information about this specific announcement and how to apply, please visit www.USAJobs.com and search for announcement number:  HHS-HRSA-DE-12-669783, or click on the following link:   http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/PrintPreview/317354000.  This position is scheduled to close on June 4, 2012.

This is an exciting time in the Bureau with interest in aligning the workforce with the nation’s need for improved access to care.  The BHPr programs provide policy leadership and grant support for health professions workforce development – making sure the U.S. has the right clinicians, with the right skills, working where they are most needed.  The DMD serves as the Bureau lead in support and evaluation of medical and dental personnel development and utilization including, primary care physicians, dentists, dental hygienists, physician assistants, and other primary care specialties to provide health care in underserved areas.

Successful candidates will have a strong background and experience in oral health and dental workforce training and education programs, with a degree in dental surgery (D.D.S.) or dental medicine (D.M.D.).  They will have an ability to work collaboratively and have demonstrated the ability to manage complex programs of nationwide impact and significance.  Technical writing ability is required including the ability to state facts and issues in a manner that presents sensitive policy implications in clear terms for the action of program administrators.  Knowledge of Federal grant programs and public health dentistry is helpful.

Salivary Diagnostics Featured in Congressional Briefing

Today, the Coalition for Health Funding (CHF) presented a briefing on Capitol Hill, Public Health 101: The Federal Role in Health Research… What’s in it for Taxpayers? The briefing featured areas of biomedical research that rely on support from federal research agencies. A presentation on salivary diagnostics was given by Dr. David Wong, Associate Dean of Research at the UCLA School of Dentistry. Dr. Wong described the potential that salivary diagnostics holds broadly for improving access to care, reducing health disparities, accelerating diagnosis and treatment, and impacting global health. More specifically, he described ongoing research into the efficacy of salivary diagnostics in monitoring health and identifying various cancers (pancreatic, breast, lung, oral) as well as conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Wong focused on breast cancer, as a primary example, articulating that the potential exists for less invasive testing and more accurate results -as compared with mammography.

Other panelists included former Congressman John Porter; Dr. Jo Ivey Bouford, President of the New York Academy of Medicine; and Dr. Peter Pronovost, Professor and Physician, Johns Hopkins University. The event was attended by House and Senate staffers and the main takeaway was that anticipated 8% cuts to federal science agencies in FY13 would produce a disastrous outcome for science and individuals. When asked by a participant to capture the impact of cuts being discussed in Congress, Dr. Pronovost stated that people’s lives are at stake.

CHF is the largest nonprofit alliance working to preserve federal investments in health. AADR is a member of the coalition and co-sponsor of the briefing held today.

Research!America Report Illustrates Threat to Science

Research!America is out with a new report that illustrates the threat posed to federal science agencies by the Budget Control Act of 2011, which set into motion across-the-board cuts to agencies. As widely reported, federal agencies face 7.8% cuts in FY13 alone -coming on the heels of stagnant support over the past two appropriations cycles. The report captures a potential loss of 2,300 NIH grants in FY13, projected to drop the grant success rate to 14%. Cuts are set to take effect in January 2013 if Congress fails to act. If you’ve not yet communicated your opposition to such an outcome, now is the time to do so!

Research!America Report – Sequestration: Health Research at the Breaking Point