This is a community action project:
1. Go to http://yourcongressyourhealth.org
2. Search for your Congresspeople and Senators
3. If they have not yet completed the 15 question survey about their views on health care research, then please use the form to ask them to put their views in writing.
The survey, which they received in May, asks their views about funding for NIH, CDC, and science education; American health care coverage and Medicare; and stem cell research. They can complete it by mail, fax, email, or on-line.
There is no excuse for any Congressperson to refuse to let their constituents know where they stand -- and to let us hold them accountable if their words are not backed up by actions.
The most immediate health care decision they need to vote on, in my opinion, is NIH funding in the 2008 budget. In a nutshell, despite the Democratic takeover of Congress, the current plan for the 2008 budget cuts real NIH funding again by failing to increase it enough to keep pace with inflation. This cut is despite 48 Senators signing a letter last April (PDF) asking for a 6.7% increase, the same amount most science advocacy groups have requested.
Which brings me to community action step #4: If your Congressperson has completed the survey and supports the NIH increase (in the survey, that's Question Two), please write and ask why they are allowing yet another year of real cuts in the NIH budget to take place.
This survey creates a tremendous opportunity for us to directly engage our Representatives and Senators on health care funding: Where do you stand? What's the roadblock to making it happen?
Send a note to Congress today, post below when you do, and I'll post a follow-up thread next week for us to share the responses we receive.
Supporting stem cell research, finding better cures for disease, keeping America healthier and maintaining our technological edge: these have been great slogans for the campaign trail. NIH funding is where the rubber meets the road.