Trump’s First Budget Takes Nearly $6 Billion From NIH, Doubles FDA User Fees

Department of Health and Human Services feels the pinch

In his first budget proposal, named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” President Trump plans to hike defense spending by $54 billion and offset that increase by taking money from more than 18 other agencies, according to an article in the Washington Post. One of the hardest hit would be the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), whose budget would be reduced by 18% to $69 billion––bringing the department’s spending to its lowest level in nearly 20 years.

Within the HHS, cuts totaling $5.8 billion would affect the National Institutes of Health, the government’s main engine of biomedical research.

The new budget proposal also “recalibrates” FDA medical-product user fees, increasing them to more than $2 billion in 2018––twice the 2017 level.

Other highlights of the president’s budget include:

  • Support for direct health care services, such as those delivered by community health centers
  • Additional funding for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program
  • Focused spending on the “highest priority activities necessary to effectively operate” Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Support for substance-abuse treatment services
  • Reforms to key public health, emergency preparedness, and prevention programs. This includes a new Federal Emergency Response Fund to react rapidly to public health outbreaks, such as Zika virus disease.
  • Cuts totaling $403 million in health professions and nursing training programs that “lack evidence that they significantly improve the nation’s health workforce.”
  • Elimination of discretionary programs in the Office of Community Services, including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Community Services Block Grant, for a savings of $4.2 billion.

Sources: Washington Post; March 16, 2017; and “America First” Budget Proposal; March 16, 2017.