Medical researchers in California are concerned about the effect that mandated spending cuts under sequestration could have on federally funded research projects, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 2/28).
U.S. lawmakers and congressional aides say that sequestration is taking effect Friday, adding that negotiations to offset or replace those cuts could continue for several months.
The mandated cuts involve nearly $1 trillion in across-the-board reductions, including a 2% reduction to Medicare reimbursement rates (California Healthline, 2/28).
Implications for Research Projects
Under sequestration, $1.6 billion will be cut from NIH's budget for funding research initiatives.
Tom Otis -- professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA -- said that his federally funded $2 million research project on the cerebellum is in jeopardy. He said that NIH officials told him "that if the sequester went forward, the project wouldn't be funded."
Stephen Gruber -- director of the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center -- said he also is concerned about how the sequester will affect research efforts. He said, "Cancer rates are declining, and at this point and time we can't afford to diminish our investment," adding, "It's just paying too many dividends to patients and to the public's health to cut that funding."
"KPCC News" reports that the full effect of the sequester on medical research jobs is unknown. Some observers have estimated that sequestration puts thousands of researchers at risk of losing their jobs ("KPCC News," KPCC, 2/28).