President Trump’s first budget blueprint envisions a major retrenchment for the Department of Health and Human Services, calling for a nearly 18% cut next year, or $15.1 billion, for programs that are subject to annual spending bills.
Among the biggest targets are the National Institutes of Health, which would see their budgets cut by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. The budget plan says this would “help focus resources on the highest priority research.”
Trump would also cut $4.2 billion in grants the federal government provides to communities to assist poor people, including the decades-old Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans with their heating bills.
And the budget would slash more than $400 million in training programs for nurses and other health professionals, which the Trump administration said are ineffective.
The president’s budget is only an outline, as Congress has the authority to set government spending levels and appropriate money. And this budget is less detailed than most, including only highlights selected by the administration
But Trump’s first spending blueprint is an early road map of the new president’s plans to scale back government.
The mammoth health agency – the largest in government – includes the huge Medicare and Medicaid programs as well as National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The current budget does not deal with Medicare, Medicaid and other major entitlement programs, which the administration has said will be covered by separate proposals. The two healthcare entitlement programs consume the majority of the heath agency’s budget.
Trump has in the past said he would protect these programs, along with Social Security, but he and his administration are heavily supporting the current House plan to roll back the Affordable Care Act, which envisions nearly $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts over the next decade.