A few months back, Trump came up with a draft federal budget for the 2018 fiscal year. He didn’t write it himself, his advisors listened to what he said, and they came up with it based on his rhetoric. When it was found to contain historic cuts to sciences, the arts, and healthcare, a bipartisan group of lawmakers decried it as a terrible set of ideas.
The draft budget also brought with it funding cut requests from the President to Congress for the 2017 fiscal year. These were rebuffed, and instead, Congress gave almost all government science agencies a not-insignificant funding boost.
The healthcare and biomedical research section was accidentally released to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website for around an hour before suddenly disappearing yesterday. We had a look at a copy of it, and appears that Trump will be trying again in 2018 to do serious harm to American science.
Here are the lowlights of the budget, entitled A New Foundation for American Greatness:
- The National Institute of Health’s (NIH) budget will be slashed by 18 percent to $26 billion.
- The NIH’s National Cancer Institute would receive a 19 percent cut, as will research into diabetes.
- Mental health research at the NIH would get a 20 percent cut, as would research into drug abuse prevention.
- $403 million would be taken out of a program designed to train students up to be medical professionals, including physicians and clinical practitioners.
- A specialized program that is designed to promote medical research in foreign countries is also being completely scrapped.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will be cut by 17 percent to $6.3 billion. The tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and other STI mitigation initiative will get 17 percent less funding, and the CDC’s global health program will see an 18 percent reduction.
- Environmental health research will be cut by 28 percent to $157 million. The one exception is a program looking at preventing lead poisoning in children (see: Flint), which will get $35 million in funding.
- Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for the poor, would be cut by over $600 billion, with an additional $839 billion to be cut via the American Health Care Act (AHCA). Funding for the poor will essentially be cut in half.
- $192 billion of funding into nutritional research and healthy eating will be scrapped.
- $72 billion of disability welfare would also be cut.
One of the few good things in the budget is a decade-long $19 billion program that will provide six weeks of paid leave to new parents. At present, there are only two countries in the world that don’t provide paid leave for new parents – America, and Papua New Guinea. This particular proposal was spearheaded by Ivanka Trump.
For the most part, however, the Trump administration is proving to be a major threat to the health and well-being of the citizens of the United States – particularly if they are poor. The passage on the widely-derided AHCA only exacerbated things further.
The final budget is being officially presented today by the GOP, and as expected the wall makes another unsightly appearance in the budget, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is yet again threatened with a 31 percent cut. $143 billion will also be cut from a federal loan program for low-income college students.
Hopefully, when this gets to Congress, they’ll do what they did last time – flat-out reject it, and boost science funding instead.
Perhaps most strikingly of all, the math of the entire budget doesn’t even add up. As pointed out by NYMag, there is a whopping $2 trillion arithmetic error in it.