President Donald Trump’s Administration plans to gut funding to healthcare and medical research, according to a 2018 budget published online and rapidly withdrawn on Monday.
Despite a campaign pledge not to touch Medicaid, which provides healthcare cover for millions of Americans on low incomes or with disability, Trump’s budget includes a $610 billion cut to the programme over 10 years. That’s on top of the more than $800 billion in cuts included in the American Health Care Act passed by the US House of Representatives.
Food stamps are also on the chopping block. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps people on low incomes to buy food, is slated for a $193 billion funding cut over the next decade.
Medical research could take a hit, too. The budget calls for slashing $5.8 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health and cutting $1 billion from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the country’s health protection agency.
It also includes deep cuts to programmes that aim to prevent substance abuse, while the US is in the midst of an opioid epidemic.
Red light for green energy
If enacted, the proposed budget would withhold all federal funds from facilities that provide abortions.
Other scientific organisations stand to lose out on funding, to varying degrees. The Department of Energy is facing a 16.6 per cent cut to the Office of Science, which oversees 10 national laboratories that investigate clean energy. The department’s advanced green energy programme ARPA-E is slated for termination.
NASA is set to lose out on $200 million – just under 1 per cent of the organisation’s current budget.
“The budget is really hostile to scientific innovation and technological innovation,” says Rob Cowin, the director of government affairs for the Climate & Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The Environmental Protection Agency is facing a suggested 31.4 per cent reduction in government funding. This will hit hardest for minority groups and people on low incomes, because these people tend to live in areas most affected by a lack of public health regulations, says Cowin.
“I honestly believe that it’s going to be hard to get a lot of members of congress to support the kind of cuts that the president is proposing in most agencies, but especially in the EPA,” Cowin says.
Brian Schatz, Hawaii state senator and Democrat, described the cuts as “cruel”. Early responses from both Democratic and Republican members of Congress suggest this budget is unlikely to pass in its current form, says Cowin. “It’s going to be hard for the president to get what he wants,” he says. “Certainly nothing this extreme will pass.”
Read more: Obamacare’s replacement a giant step backwards for US healthcare; US healthcare still lags far behind other developed nations; What Trump’s US Supreme Court pick means for women’s health
More on these topics:
- Donald Trump
- United States