What Trump's budget means for HHS: 5 things to know

The White House released its 2018 budget Thursday — and it slashes 17.9 percent of the HHS budget, according to a report from The Washington Post.

In what many are calling a "skinny" budget, President Donald Trump's proposal would make major cuts across programs for the poor, scientific research, arts and American allies abroad, according to the report. The proposal, if approved, would make the largest reductions to the national budget since post-World War II, according to The Washington Post. However, the proposal is merely a starting point — Congress will ultimately decide how funds are allocated.

Here are five things to know about what the budget means for healthcare programs under HHS.

1. The budget decreases funds to HHS by $15.1 billion. Under this plan, the agency's current budget of $84.1 billion would be reduced to $69 billion, which is the lowest it has been in roughly 20 years, according to The Washington Post.

2. The National Institutes of Health will shoulder some of the deepest cuts. Reductions in funds for the nation's biomedical research department account for a third of the cuts to HHS. NIH's budget would shrink 19 percent, and the agency would be reorganized, according to the report. The NIH's Fogarty International Center, which strikes partnerships with research organizations abroad, would be eliminated.

3. The budget does not include any information about Medicare or Medicaid. This is unusual, according to The Washington Post, particularly because the entitlement programs currently cost about $1 trillion and are considered mandatory.

4. President Trump's budget allots increased funds for public health initiatives, like opioid addiction treatment and disease outbreaks. It increases funds to substance abuse treatment programs by $500 million and would create a non-specified emergency fund for disease outbreaks, according to the report.

5. The budget, though only a starting point, highlights the Trump administration's priorities. It increased military spending by $54 billion, funding for charter schools by $168 million and funding for a private school choice program by $250 million, indicating these will be priorities for the administration in lieu of other programs. The Washington Post called it "the clearest snapshot yet of Trump's priorities."

Read the full story here.


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