House appropriations bill sidesteps Trump budget proposal, adds billions to HHS, NIH

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The House Appropriations Committee's draft funding bill for fiscal year 2018 includes $77.6 billion for HHS, countering Trump’s request to slash the health budget.

A House subcommittee released a proposed budget Wednesday that adds billions to the Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health, rejecting President Trump’s plan to make widespread cuts next year to those agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Indeed, the House Appropriations Committee draft funding bill for fiscal year 2018 includes $77.6 billion for HHS, significantly less than last year’s enacted level but $14.5 billion above Trump’s budget request to slash billions from health programs in order to spend more on the military and cover planned tax cuts.

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But it proposes to eliminate all funding for the federal Family Planning (Title X) program, which  includes funds to Planned Parenthood and provides services to low-income Americans. An announcement about the House bill describes the program as “controversial,” and notes it will save taxpayers nearly $300 million.

It also doesn’t include additional funding for programs implemented under the Affordable Care Act and prohibits funds for the “Navigators” program and the collection of user fees from the Health Insurance Exchanges.

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“This bill reflects Republican priorities to cut spending and focus investments in programs our people need the mostpublic health and medical research, biodefense, fundamental education, and proven programs that increase job growth, for example,” House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said in an announcement. “It also includes important provisions to stop government overreach.”

The House bill, which will be considered today, would provide:

  • $35.2 billion to the NIH, an increase of 1.1 billion above last year’s enacted level and $8.6 billion more than Trump’s proposal. If approved, the bill increases funding for research into Alzheimer’s disease, neurotechnologies, All of Us (formerly known as the Precision Medicine initiative), the Cancer Moonshot, regenerative medicine, pediatric cancer and efforts to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • $7 billion for the CDC, $1 billion more than Trump requested. The funding includes an increase of $45 million to the CDC’s Public Health Preparedness and Response Programs to ensure adequate supplies and response in the event of a bioterror attack or pandemic disease emergency.
  • $3.5 billion to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, $68 million above Trump’s proposal. The funding will include $747 million to address state and federal efforts to combat opioid and heroin abuse.
  • $5.8 billion for Health Resources and Services Administration, $277 million above Trump’s budget proposal, to fund Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Educate, Healthy Start and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant.
  • $300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
  • $3.5 billion for CMS administrative expenses, $137 million lower than Trump’s proposal, but sufficient to maintain core operations and services, according to the Appropriations Committee.

The bill also cuts or terminates several programs that the Committee describes as lower priority, unproven or unnecessary. Those cuts include a $21 million cut to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and terminates the CDC Climate Change Program and the Health Careers Opportunity Program.