Mind the Gap! GAO Issues Report on Kidney Disease Funding

By David White

More than 20 million Americans have kidney diseases: does the level of funding reflect that public health burden?

On January 18, 2017, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released  a report entitled National Institutes of Health: Kidney Disease Research Funding and Priority Setting

Since 1972 the US has committed to ensuring patients with kidney failure have access to life-saving dialysis therapy. Annually, the federal government spends more on the Medicare ESRD program (nearly $32 billion) than it invests in the entire National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget ($30 billion).

However, just $564 million is dedicated to kidney disease research at NIH.

Thus the equivalent of 1.7% of the annual total cost of care for kidney failure is invested in research to improve therapies and discover cures. That’s just $29 for each of the 20 million Americans who have kidney diseases – 650,000 of whom have kidney failure. 

“The federal government spends roughly $32 billion every year to treat patients with kidney disease.… We also need to ensure that funding toward finding a cure for this damaging disease is substantially increased,” said Rep. Tom Marino, who requested the GAO study.  “As a member of Congress and someone living with kidney disease, I hope to see a much larger dedication to research so that this illness is eradicated entirely.”

The ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee is analyzing this report as it pushes for higher levels of kidney research funding and innovations in funding such as prize competitions.  ASN has already pledged $7 million to help launch a prize competition that will spur novel technologies that transform kidney care and advance toward cures.

Members of Congress who requested this GAO report in addition to Rep. Marino — Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10), House Science Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), and Sen. Bill Nelson (FL) —are committed to advancing therapies and cures for the millions of Americans with kidney diseases.

ASN encourages you to read the GAO report and send your insights to info@kidneynews.org.  We will share all feedback with the Policy and Advocacy Committee.

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More than 20 million Americans have kidney diseases: does the level of funding reflect that public health burden?

On January 18, 2017, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) released  a report entitled National Institutes of Health: Kidney Disease Research Funding and Priority Setting

Since 1972 the US has committed to ensuring patients with kidney failure have access to life-saving dialysis therapy. Annually, the federal government spends more on the Medicare ESRD program (nearly $32 billion) than it invests in the entire National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget ($30 billion).

However, just $564 million is dedicated to kidney disease research at NIH.

Thus the equivalent of 1.7% of the annual total cost of care for kidney failure is invested in research to improve therapies and discover cures. That’s just $29 for each of the 20 million Americans who have kidney diseases – 650,000 of whom have kidney failure. 

“The federal government spends roughly $32 billion every year to treat patients with kidney disease.… We also need to ensure that funding toward finding a cure for this damaging disease is substantially increased,” said Rep. Tom Marino, who requested the GAO study.  “As a member of Congress and someone living with kidney disease, I hope to see a much larger dedication to research so that this illness is eradicated entirely.”

The ASN Policy and Advocacy Committee is analyzing this report as it pushes for higher levels of kidney research funding and innovations in funding such as prize competitions.  ASN has already pledged $7 million to help launch a prize competition that will spur novel technologies that transform kidney care and advance toward cures.

Members of Congress who requested this GAO report in addition to Rep. Marino — Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10), House Science Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21), Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), and Sen. Bill Nelson (FL) —are committed to advancing therapies and cures for the millions of Americans with kidney diseases.

ASN encourages you to read the GAO report and send your insights to info@kidneynews.org.  We will share all feedback with the Policy and Advocacy Committee.