In an interview with the Huffington Post, Francis Collins, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) head, said the country probably would have had an Ebola vaccine had there not been a decrease in funding over the last decade.
“NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” he said. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
As the Daily Mail pointed out, though, “overall NIH funding sits at $30.15 billion this year – up from $17.84 billion in 2000.” And the NIH found creative uses for their funds.
According to the Daily Mail, the NIH budged included “$2.4 million for a new condom design whose inventor is now being investigated for fraud,” $939,000 to discover that “male fruit flies prefer younger females,” $257,000 “to create a companion website for first lady Michelle Obama’s White House garden,” a whopping “592,000 to determine that chimpanzees with the best poop-flinging skills are also the best communicators, and another $117,000 to learn that most chimps are right-handed.” The NIH also spent “$325,000 to learn that marriages are happier when wives calm down more quickly during arguments with their husbands” and “$548,000 to find out if 30-something partiers feel immature after they binge drink while people in their mid-20s don’t.”
Progressive groups have also tried to falsely accuse Republicans of slashing funding for health agency, running ads claiming that “Republican Cuts Kill” even though the numbers do not back up their claims. In fact, it was President Barack Obama’s budget that proposed cuts to key public health agencies.
As the Atlanta Business Chronicle noted, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) got an “8.2 percent budget increase for fiscal 2014, thanks to a $1.1 trillion spending bill announced by Congress Jan. 13.” In addition, the CDC received more funds than Obama had requested because of Congress. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the CDC’s $6.9 billion “is $567 million more than it received in 2013, “and “this is more than the agency anticipated, because the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request for it was just $6.6 billion — a decrease of $270 million from fiscal 2012.”
And as Reason observed, the “Pandemic Preparedness Funding” in America’s “Global Health Program” actually saw “a decrease of $22.5 million (-31%) below” its fiscal year 2014 funding because Obama’s budget requested that decrease.
It’s a good thing there isn’t a raging filovirus making the rounds.