March 17, 2022

ACR Provides Overview of Government Spending Act That Increases NIH Funding

President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 2471) into law March 15, to fund the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services, and their programs for the remainder of federal fiscal year (FY) 2022.

National Institutes of Health Funding

The act includes $45 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increase of $2.25 billion above the FY 2021 enacted level. Included in the NIH funding is $1 billion to establish the Advanced

Research Projects Agency for Health, intended to accelerate the pace of scientific breakthroughs for diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer. The act also includes a 3.4% increase for each Institute and Center within NIH to support a wide range of biomedical and behavioral research, as well as targeted investments in several high-priority areas, including:

  • $6.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute, an increase of $353 million above the FY 2021 enacted level, including $194 million for the Cancer Moonshot Initiative.
  • $541 million for the bioresearch program, All of Us Research Program, an increase of $41 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • $612 million for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® Initiative, an increase of $52 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.
  • $3.2 billion for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia research, an increase of $289 million above the FY 2021 enacted level.

USPSTF Recommendation

The act also includes an extension (through Jan. 1, 2024) of the current delay in implementation of the 2009 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) mammography screening recommendations as they apply to Affordable Care Act coverage and any other laws that reference the recommendations.

As part of the accompanying House and Senate reports, which explain congressional intent but does not have the force of law, Congress expressed concern about the disparity in cancer screening in medically underserved communities and the lack of equity and access to cancer clinical trials across the country.

Lawmakers shared their desire for research into next generation cohorts for Alzheimer’s research with a focus on understanding the development and progression of risk factors and detection of early signs of cognitive decline. They noted that funded cohorts should be racially and ethnically diverse with broad geographic representation.

In their reports, legislators also urged comprehensive reforms of USPSTF’S structure and methodologies and called for action on the lack of data in health equity and racial diversity to more clearly inform its decision-making process.

Of interest to radiology, Congress also:

  • Encouraged the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to evaluate steps it can take to improve access to lung cancer screening and requested that the agency provide a report on its findings within 120 days of the act’s implementation.
  • Encouraged CMS to consider existing evidence to determine if Medicare should cover CT colonography screening tests.
  • Instructed CMS to consider existing quality improvement programs and their influence on encouraging appropriate use of advanced diagnostic imaging. In the reports, lawmakers directed CMS to consult with stakeholders, including medical professional societies and developers of appropriate use criteria and clinical guidelines.

For more information about the spending bill, contact Tina Getachew, American College of Radiology® Government Relations Specialist.