L. Ady Dewey (202) 487-1895
Washington, D.C., Feb. 1, 2010 – Dr. Marina L. Weiss, senior vice president of public policy and government affairs for the March of Dimes, issued the following statement on the President’s budget, released this morning:
“The March of Dimes commends President Obama for presenting to Congress a budget that proposes forward thinking investments in biomedical and epidemiological research. Especially important is the continuing commitment to the groundbreaking National Children’s Study – a multi-year undertaking that will follow 100,000 children from birth to adulthood, examining the effects of environmental influences – including toxins – on their health and development. The results of this important study will inform the work of scientists in universities and research organizations across the nation and around the world, helping them identify precursors to disease and to develop new strategies for prevention and treatment.
“In his budget, the President also urges Congress to make a major and sustained investment in public health research and programs, with a special emphasis on prevention and wellness. Two proposals hold particular interest for the March of Dimes: promotion of preconception care to improve the health of mother and baby; and moving forward on the idea of adding corn masa flour to the list of products fortified with folic acid. Both initiatives, if approved by Congress, will improve birth outcomes with the steps forward on folic acid holding particular promise for Latino families whose risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect of the brain or spine is higher than that of the general population.
“Realizing the criticality of data to find solutions, the March of Dimes also applauds the proposed $23 million increase in funding for the National Center for Health Statistics. A portion of this long overdue increase will enable NCHS to support states and territories with implementation of electronic birth certificates, thereby strengthening the capacity to collect data and present it in a format that is consistent across states. Vital statistics data is essential for gaining understanding of health problems, recognizing emerging trends, identifying risk factors, and guiding public policy as well as programs.
“A concern raised by the Administration’s budget, however, is reintroduction of the proposal to cap tax deductions for charitable contributions. At a time when non-profit organizations are experiencing record demand for their services and reduced revenue, every effort should be made to encourage, not limit, charitable giving. It is our hope that Congress will once again set this recommendation aside.
“At the March of Dimes, we look forward to working with the President and members of his Administration to secure enactment of key provisions of his FY11 budget.”