Trump budget cuts would seriously jeopardize public health, says APHA

Date: May 23 2017

Contact: David Fouse, 202-777-2501

Washington, D.C., May 23, 2017 -- The budget proposed today by the Trump administration to fund the government for fiscal year 2018 includes massive cuts to federal health agencies with dangerous consequences for the nation's health, according to the American Public Health Association.

"This budget would reduce, weaken or eliminate programs vital to protecting America’s health and well-being," said Georges Benjamin, MD, executive director of APHA. "Its effects would be catastrophic, especially for our most vulnerable, including children, seniors and low-income Americans."

The proposal would cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation’s lead public health agency, by $1.2 billion; slash funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, or nearly $2.6 billion; and cut Medicaid, our nation’s health safety net for low-income Americans, by $610 billion over the next decade, on top of the more than $800 billion cut outlined in the House Republican health care plan. It would also cut more than $190 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, over 10 years — roughly a 25 percent reduction.

The budget plan would drastically reduce or disable many critical programs. A host of initiatives at CDC would be affected, including deep cuts to environmental health programs, elimination of its climate change program, and hefty cuts to efforts that protect against infectious disease, protect the public against public health emergencies, assure occupational health, prevent spread of HIV, promote global health and address our nation’s chronic disease epidemic. At the Health Resources and Services Administration, the proposal outlines massive cuts to programs that train and diversify our nation’s health workforce, which are critical for addressing future shortages of health professionals, and to rural health programs designed to support the more than 46 million people living in rural America who struggle with accessing health care.

Making matters worse, the budget proposal also supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which would lead to tens of millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage with insurance premiums rising for millions more.

"If enacted, these cuts would weaken health programs, shred our nation’s safety net and eviscerate environmental protections,” said Benjamin. “You can’t make America great again with a plan that would make America sick, poor and polluted again.

"We urge Congress to reject this deeply flawed and dangerous proposal and instead work for bipartisan solutions that invest in our people and communities and strengthen our public health protections. Lifting the caps on spending for nondefense discretionary programs would provide needed relief to adequately invest in our nation’s health."

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APHA champions the health of all people an all communities. We strengthen the public health profession. We speak out for public health issues and policies backed by science. We are the only organization that combines a 145-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Visit us at www.apha.org.