KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Medical Research, Cancer ‘Moonshot’ Would Be Hit Hard By Trump Budget Blueprint

From the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health to Meals on Wheels, news outlets cover the impact that the proposed Trump administration budget cuts would have on a range of health care organizations and initiatives.

The Washington Post: Proposed Federal Budget Would Devastate Cancer Research, Advocates Say
Cancer researchers and advocacy groups are denouncing President Trump's proposed budget, warning that its 19 percent cut for the National Institutes of Health could cripple or kill former vice president Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshot” initiative and other important biomedical efforts. “Forget about the moonshot. What about everything on the ground?” said George Demetri, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. “Fundamentally, this is so extreme that all I can think is that it’s pushing two orders of magnitude off the grid so that when people come back to less extreme positions it looks normal.” (McGinley, 3/17)

The New York Times: Trump Plan Eliminates A Global Sentinel Against Disease, Experts Warn
Nobody in the United States has ever died from an intercontinental missile strike. Over the past 50 years, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on silos, submarines, bombers and satellites to ensure that does not happen. During the same period, nearly 2 million Americans have died from intercontinental virus strikes. The toll includes one American dead of Ebola, 2,000 dead of West Nile virus, 700,000 dead of AIDS, and 1.2 million dead of flu — a virus that returns from abroad each winter. (McNeil, 3/17)

CQ Roll Call: FDA And NIH Budget Proposals Startle Health Research Community
President Donald Trump’s budget proposal deeply rattled the nation's biomedical research enterprise, which was not only dismayed by massive cuts to the National Institutes of Health but also caught off guard by major changes to the Food and Drug Administration's budget. The administration did not specify a topline number for the FDA budget, which was around $4.7 billion in recent years. Normally $2.7 billion comes from discretionary appropriations and the rest from fees paid by regulated industries. The administration seems to want to flip that. The budget plan said it would “recalibrate” medical user fees and increase them by $1 billion in order to “replace the need for new budget authority.” (Siddons, 3/17)

Kaiser Health News: Researchers Call Trump’s Proposed NIH Cuts ‘Shocking’
An estimated $5.8 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget has California’s top universities and medical institutions sounding the alarm. Trump’s spending plan — running into opposition from Republicans and Democrats alike — would cut about 20 percent of the roughly $30 billion budget of the nation’s medical research agency that supports research on cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Zika and other conditions. Research institutions nationwide decried the cuts as potentially devastating to their work. (Korry, 3/17)

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Trump's Budget Puts Local Public Health, Medical Research And Jobs At Risk
President Donald Trump's proposed budget includes cuts in public health and medical research funding that would both eliminate jobs and essential services in Northeast Ohio, according to local health and policy experts. Combined with the proposed public health funding cuts in the Republican Obamacare replacement plan, the impact on Ohio state and local health department infrastructure and ability to deliver basic preventive health services would be enormous, said Cuyahoga County Health Commissioner Terry Allan. (Zeltner, 3/17)

Houston Chronicle: Houston Could Lose Big If Trump Cuts Medical Research Funding 
President Trump's proposal to slash federal support of medical research would undercut Houston's burgeoning health care and medical technology industries, which are becoming an increasingly important segment of the region's economy. Health care employs more than 560,000 people in the Houston area, a steadily expanding sector that has added about 170,000 jobs over the past 10 years and helped stabilize the local economy during the recent oil bust. Those figures don't include an emerging industry of biotechnology and medical device firms that are growing around Houston's medical complex. (DePillis, 3/17)

Bloomberg: Trump’s Cuts To Meals On Wheels Could Hurt Veterans, Raise Health-Care Costs 
One of the casualties of President Donald Trump's proposed budget may be Meals on Wheels, the familiar food delivery program for homebound Americans. The aim is to decrease federal spending, but cuts to the service could backfire by raising health-care costs, the program warned. The spending plan calls for reductions to two grants that Meals on Wheels relies on in some locations, as well as to federal departments that help fund the program, spokeswoman Jenny Bertolette said in a statement. "With a stated 17.9 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services budget," Bertolette said, "it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which these critical services would not be significantly and negatively impacted if enacted into law." (Mosendz, 3/17)

Public health officials also brace for the fallout of the administration's visa policy and push to deregulate  —

The New York Times: Rural Areas Brace For A Shortage Of Doctors Due To Visa Policy
Small-town America relies on a steady flow of doctors from around the world to deliver babies, treat heart ailments and address its residents’ medical needs. But a recent, little-publicized decision by the government to alter the timetable for some visa applications is likely to delay the arrival of new foreign doctors, and is causing concern in the places that depend on them. (Jordan, 3/18)

KQED: Bay Area Lawmakers Outraged Over Trump’s Push To Eliminate Federal Refinery Regulator
Local leaders and health officials in Contra Costa County, home to four oil refineries, are blasting a part of President Trump’s budget that calls for cutting all money for the federal agency that investigates chemical accidents. Trump’s spending plan aims to eliminate funding for the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which has conducted hundreds of probes, including one into the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Goldberg, 3/17)

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