Work requirements, consolidated health programs part of White House reorganization proposal

The White House Office of Management and Budget released its proposed federal organization plan, including a move which would rename the Department of Health and Human Services. (Sarah Stierch/CC BY 4.0)

The White House Office of Management and Budget released its proposed federal organization plan, including a move which would rename the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Under the plan (PDF), HHS would be known instead as the Department of Health and Public Welfare and it would emphasize programs that provide assistance to low-income people. 

Earlier this month, Politico reported the Trump administration was planning to reorganize and consolidate multiple agencies and programs, targeting safety-net programs such as food stamps.

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RELATED: Trump reorganization plan could include HHS changes

Officials said the goal of the federal reorganization is meant to make government agencies "more efficient, effective, and accountable." In one example of inefficiencies, a release pointed out that poultry companies have to deal with multiple government offices because chickens and eggs are regulated by different agencies.

Among other health-related changes, the reorganization plan would:

  • Reorganize the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the food safety functions of HHS’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into a single agency within USDA that would cover virtually all the foods Americans eat.

RELATED: New HHS office that protects religious rights has received more than 300 complaints from health workers

  • Consolidate non-commodity nutrition assistance programs from the USDA into HHS, including the food stamp program known as SNAP, out of the Department of Agriculture and into the Department of Health and Human Services. It would rename the agency the Department of Health and Public Welfare.
  • It would also establish a Council on Public Assistance comprised of all federal agencies that administer public benefits, with statutory authority to set cross-program policies including uniform work requirements.
  • Reduce the size of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and build up a reserve corps for public health emergencies instead.

As was previously reported, the plan would also move the Strategic National Stockpile from the control of the Centers for Disease Control Prevention to the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. Members of Congress have raised limited concerns about that transition. 

However, other proposals such as the ability to institute broad work requirements for recipients of public assistance, are expected to be nonstarters in Congress.

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