Since Day One, Donald Trump has vowed to “Make America Great Again,” a mantra that has followed him throughout the election and since his win—with MAGA hats on the heads of his supporters. But with his seat in office, it’s now time to live up to that acronym, and when it comes to the world of healthcare, is that what Trump is doing?
While his American Health Care Act bill imploded before dropping down upon America—leaving the Affordable Care Act remaining—there is still work to be done in the healthcare sector. His first budget outline for the 2018 fiscal year shows how some significant budget cuts can slice directly into health-related programs. The proposal, which is a staggering $1.1 trillion dollars, shows an increase in the defense budget ($54 billion) with a corresponding decrease in spending on federal government programs ($54 billion).
Which programs? The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a division within it called the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is among them. The NIH is seeing huge hits in this proposal. 80% of funding for the NIH goes to medical schools and universities, along with other valuable research programs throughout the country.
The NIH stands to lose $6 billion with this new proposal, which is the lowest in funding the program has seen in 15 years. $403 million dollars will also be cut for training programs for nurses and other health professionals, as well as a “major reorganization” of the NIH and its 27 institutes. The proposed direction comes with a focus on solely “high-priority” research programs.
Said reorganization would eliminate the Fogarty International Center, which trains scientists who research in high-risk infectious disease territories like Africa to find ways of containing and curing infectious diseases as they continue to emerge. The reorganization also poses a threat to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), a program designed to ensure quality, safety, and cost for healthcare delivery.
The tagline for the proposed budget reads: America First: A Budget Blueprint To Make America Great Again, but how far will the healthcare cuts undercut the touted spirit of that phrase? We’ll find out in May when the full budget is released. To view the proposal, click here.
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