Trump budget proposal cuts billions and would 'devastate' healthcare programs

Donald Trump speaking
If enacted, President Trump's 2018 proposed budget will slash billions from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Despite criticism over his initial proposal in March that included huge cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, President Trump’s fleshed-out 2018 budget will slash billions from those health programs in order to spend more on the military and cover planned tax cuts.

The full budget plan is due to be released this morning at 11 a.m., but the White House administration inadvertently posted the section (PDF) that dealt with cuts to the HHS late Monday before it quickly took it offline.

In addition to a proposal to eliminate $800 billion from Medicaid, the Trump administration wants to make deep cuts to other health programs, including:

  • $5.8 billion from the overall NIH budget, including $1 billion from the National Cancer Institute, $838 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and $575 million from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
  • $1.2 billion from the CDC
  • $403 million from health workforce programs, including diversity training, mental and behavioral programs, and select nursing and physician training programs
  • $22 million from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

RELATED: Trump slashes ONC’s budget by $22 million amid wider cuts to health IT initiatives

Tom Frieden, M.D., the former director of the CDC, took to Twitter and called the budget cuts to the agency “unsafe at any level of enactment.” The 17% reduction to the budget is the lowest budget the CDC has had in 20 years.

The budget cuts, he said, devastate programs that protect Americans from cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, and put Americans at risk from new and emerging infections and global health threats.

Edward Abrahams, president of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, which represents patients, insurers, healthcare providers and others, told FierceHealthcare he was worried that broader NIH cuts would impact ongoing medical research. 

“The president’s ongoing desire to cut NIH’s research budget contradicts the bipartisan support the agency received as recently as earlier this month,” Abrahams said. “It would be a travesty for patients and the future of personalized medicine if enacted.”

In an emailed statement to FierceHealthcare, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), which represents nearly 3,000 local health departments, said that if the CDC cuts were enacted, it would “negatively impact the health and safety of communities across the country.”

“This is a document that in theory embodies the values and priorities of the nation,” said NACCHO’s interim executive director and chief of government affairs, Laura Hanen. “Unfortunately, the emphasis is not on preventing disease and ensuring long and healthy lives of Americans, particularly those most vulnerable.”