Mr. DOLD. Mr. Speaker, as the Supreme Court is about to rule on the health care law, Americans all across the country are focusing again on health care.
Health care makes up about one-fifth of the United States' economy, and it is increasingly taking up a larger share of our Federal budget, so it's important that we look to implement strategies that bend the cost curve down.
Scientific research over the years has enhanced our understanding of disease and has continuously led to many breakthrough treatments. However, it is critical that we emphasize not just treatment, but specifically cures for diseases as well.
Last year, the United States Government spent just under $32 billion to help the National Institutes of Health carry out its critical mission: seeking fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems, applying that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability.
The NIH, Mr. Speaker, has earned a proud reputation for its research and has made a positive impact in the health care world. I'm a firm supporter of the NIH, and I spoke this past March to the House Budget Committee about the importance of funding NIH's mission. However, I also believe that we can always do more with the resources that we have and believe that we should refocus a portion of our health care resources toward a new mission. One idea that has been brought to me is a center that concentrates exclusively on eliminating diseases rather than continuing the practice of just treating diseases.
This center, known as the American Center for Cures, would be a public-private partnership that utilizes the resources of the government with the creativity and accountability of the private sector to find cures for the diseases that in some way affect almost everyone on the planet--diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, just to name a new.
By bringing our Nation's best and brightest minds together, from business boardrooms to scientists from around the world, the center would singularly devote its efforts to curing diseases by establishing renewed lines of communication amongst the world's most reputable scientists, funding collaborative research, unblocking bottlenecks in clinical research, facilitating speedy clinical trials, and ensuring that the research performed remains focuses on outcomes and results.
In addition to promoting the United States as the leading place for innovations and pioneering medical research, finding cures to some of mankind's deadliest diseases would also have global implications. The money saved by not having to dedicate it to treating or managing a disease could be freed up and invested in education, infrastructure, and deficit reduction, and we would be able to further help raise the standards of living for everyone in developing nations and around the globe.
During these difficult fiscal times, Mr. Speaker, here in our own country we have to start thinking differently. Today, we spend approximately $235 billion annually on treating diabetes alone. Think about the cost if we add Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. If the American Center for Cures could find a cure, think about the possibilities. Think about the good we could do, for instance, with 235 billion extra dollars right here. That's what we spend in our country. Think about what gets spent all around the globe.
We need to start thinking differently, Mr. Speaker. Change is hard, and change in Washington is even harder, but I believe that we have an obligation, as stewards of our taxpayers' hard-earned money, not only to effectively allocate their tax dollars in a manner that produces results, but change the way that we look at all the possibilities for our future. This mission could impact not just every American life, but every human on the planet.