Sequestration: When cuts could cost lives

Much drama and politicking led up to the March 1 deadline to avert mandatory spending cuts required by sequestration. D. Craig Brater, dean of the IU School of Medicine, recently wrote this opinion piece describing the substantial impact the cuts could have on medical research in Indiana.

Dean of the IU School of Medicine

D. Craig Brater

He writes:

Last year, the IU School of Medicine received nearly $120 million in research funding from the NIH (National Institutes of Health) out of roughly $260 million in research grants. If sequestration persists, research funding will decline, but the precise amount is unknown.

An interruption in research, even for a few weeks, may mean years of progress lost – years that could mean life or death for patients for whom medical research is their only hope.

He also writes about the economic impact.

The majority of research funds are used to employ people – people who bring biological discoveries to clinical settings – with the remainder used for specialized equipment and supplies. Job loss will be both a direct and indirect result of decreased research funding and sequestration.

Nobody said the cuts would be easy, but this opinion piece shows how the cuts can significantly affect lives, even if the cuts are only short-term. As dramatic as it sounds, Brater says the effects might even cost lives.

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