The Trump Administration recently released its 2019 budget proposal. The proposed budget is an attack on many government-funded programs and resources that millions of American citizens depend on for their health and well-being. A close look at the fiscal 2019 budget reveals that the plan proposes:
Cutting $1.7 trillion in funding from Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) programs, over the next 10 years. These cuts would directly affect Medicare patients by overhauling the current system. The plan calls for a new system of capped federal payments that free states from federal eligibility and benefits rules, along with enforcing unfair work requirements for underprivileged people to be able to receive federal assistance.
Cutting $17.2 billion in funding for the food stamp program, known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2019 and $213.5 billion over the next 10 years. Under the proposed plan, a boxed food delivery program would be implemented, a system that could limit access to fresh quality food and hinder access to food for individuals with special diets.
Cutting $2.5 billion from the annual budget of the Environmental Protection Agency, an overall reduction of more than 23%. Under the proposed plan, several dozen EPA programs would be eliminated. These cuts show a lack of concern from the current administration to ensure clean air and clean water for all Americans. Many of the communities, affected by lack of clean water and clean air are African-American and underserved communities.
This is just a portion of the programs that could potentially be affected if this budget is allowed to pass. The NMA urges Congress not to approve this proposed budget and fight to continue funding these programs that provide equal access to the services that so many Americans desperately need.
Doris Browne, MD, MPH
118th President of the National Medical Association