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October 4, 1995

The War Against Disease and Disability

Author Affiliations

From the US Senate, Washington, DC. Senator Hatfield is a Republican from Oregon.

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1077. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130083037

AS THE chairman of the US Senate Appropriations Committee, I know all too well the difficulties we as a nation face in dividing increasingly strained financial resources among our domestic priorities. We must cut federal spending. We must reduce the deficit. But certain programs will continue to receive federal support and the new Congress has been actively involved in setting priorities. In my view, the decision whether to continue funding an agency or program is based on three factors. First, is the program vital to the wellbeing of Americans and to our national security? Second, is the activity one that the federal government is best suited to conduct, or would a state or local government deliver the service more efficiently? Third, does the program contribute to our nation's future?

Few programs fit these criteria better than medical research. Medical research offers a tremendous economic return on every dollar spent, and

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