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Drastic Health Cuts In Trump Budget Panned As ‘Cartoon Villain Approach To Biomedical Innovation’

Scientists and industry speak out about President Donald Trump's proposed cuts to health spending.

The New York Times: Scientists Bristle At Trump Budget’s Cuts To Research
Before he became president, Donald J. Trump called climate change a hoax, questioned the safety of vaccines and mocked renewable energy as a plaything of “tree-huggers.” So perhaps it is no surprise that Mr. Trump’s first budget took direct aim at basic scientific and medical research. Still, the extent of the cuts in the proposed budget unveiled early Thursday shocked scientists, researchers and program administrators. (Fountain and Schwartz, 3/16)

The Associated Press: Trump Budget Would Force Tough Choices In Disease Research
What goes on the chopping block: Research into cancer or Alzheimer’s? A Zika vaccine or a treatment for superbugs? Health groups say President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash funds for the nation’s engine of biomedical research would be devastating for patients with all kinds of diseases — and for jobs. (Neergaard, 3/16)

NPR: Trump Administration Proposes Big Cuts In Medical Research
Funding from the National Institutes of Health flows to more than 2,600 institutions around the country and creates more than 313,000 full- and part-time jobs, according to a 2016 study. So it's not obvious how slashing billions from the NIH budget, as the Trump administration proposes, will bring more jobs to America. (Harris and Stein, 3/16)

The Washington Post: Science And Medicine Leaders Say Trump Budget Would Be Dire For U.S.
“This is not a budget that’s designed to make America first,” Rush Holt, chief executive of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, told The Washington Post. His organization issued a statement warning that the cuts, if implemented, would “cripple the science and technology enterprise.” In the interview with The Post, Holt said the Trump budget blueprint is only the first step in the budgetary process and that, historically, science and medicine have enjoyed bipartisan support from appropriators on the Hill. But this was a rough morning for some people, he said. (Achenbach, 3/16)

Stat: Trump Budget Calls For Slashing Biomedical And Science Research Funding
As for the pharmaceutical industry: Trump has repeatedly promised drug makers he’ll make it easier and cheaper for them to bring new medicines to market, but he’s also counting on them to pay more for their regulatory reviews. His budget calls for hiking the fees that industry pays the Food and Drug Administration to review medical products, arguing that companies “can and should” pay their fair share. Trump aims to bring in $2 billion from these user fees in 2018, approximately double the current level. (Simon, 3/12)

The Washington Post: Trump Said He Wanted More Miracle Drugs. His Budget Could Make Funding Them Dramatically Harder.
At his inauguration, President Trump said the country was on the cusp of a revolutionary moment, ready "to free the Earth from the miseries of disease.” Last month, he doubled down on that vision in his address to Congress, speaking of the “marvels” Americans could achieve under his presidency. Item one was miraculous new medicines: “Cures to the illnesses that have always plagued us are not too much to hope,” he said. On Thursday, Trump announced a budget proposal that could turn the flow of innovation that underlies new medicines to a trickle. (Johnson, 3/16)

Politico Pro: Industry Groups Push Back On Any Changes To FDA User Fee Deals
Industry groups and FDA funding advocates expressed dissatisfaction with the president's FDA budget request and raised concerns about the White House's signal that it would prefer to rely more heavily on industry user fees to fund the agency, than to increase taxpayer funds. Trump is proposing that FDA receive more than $2 billion in medical product industry fees in fiscal year 2018, an additional cost to the drug and device industries of about $1 billion as compared with 2017. It would replace the need for new taxpayer funds to pay for drug and device reviews, his budget outline says. (Karlin-Smith, 3/16)

Los Angeles Times: 20% Cut To NIH Budget Would Leave Americans More Vulnerable To Cancer And Other Diseases, Experts Warn
“This is just a terrible proposal,” said Jon Retzlaff, chief policy officer of the American Assn. for Cancer Research. “To see a proposal that would gut NIH by 20% — that would put us back to the year 2000 in terms of funding. We’re astonished and dumbfounded. ”Noting that cancer research has “had so much momentum,” Retzlaff said that cuts of the magnitude proposed “will absolutely slow research” that could lead to new ways to prevent and treat the nation’s No. 2 killer, which claimed the lives of an estimated 595,690 Americans in 2016. (Healy, 3/16)

Stat: NIH's Fogarty Center, Devoted To Global Health, Would Close Under Trump Budget
One of the National Institutes of Health’s only programs devoted to global health research and training is on the chopping block as part of President Trump’s vision for an overhaul of some government agencies. The administration’s budget blueprint, released Thursday, lays out sweeping cuts, including the elimination of the NIH’s Fogarty International Center. Public health experts say the closure of the center, if approved by Congress, could hamper future responses to the spread of infectious diseases and slow research that could help Americans. (Blau, 3/16)

Modern Healthcare: HHS Takes The Biggest Hit In Trump's First Budget
But not all health-related projects are losers in Trump's plan. The president's proposal boosts HHS spending on opioid prevention and treatment efforts by $500 million, and also provides funds to the Justice Department to combat the epidemic. Some programs would tread water: WIC grants — money to states for healthcare and nutrition for low-income women, infants and children — are one example. (3/16)

Bloomberg: Trump Would Slash Research In Cut To Health Budget
Dane Leone, an analyst at BITG, called the budget proposal a “cartoon villain approach to biomedical innovation.” “The severity of the starting point for discussions will likely have tangible effects on how investors view the U.S. health-care sector,” he said. “The main takeaway from our view is that the Trump administration clearly lacks any appreciation for the importance of biomedical innovation and makes us take ongoing banter regarding drug price negotiations more seriously.” (Tracer and Edney, 3/16)

Bloomberg: Budget 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 program, which delivers meals to individual homes and senior centers, feeds more than 2.4 million Americans 60 and older—more than half a million of them veterans. It delivers about 218 million meals a year, according to a Meals on Wheels fact sheet. Most recipients live alone, take more than six medications, and rely on these meals for at least half the food they consume. (Mosendz, 3/17)

Boston Globe: Trump Budget Slashes Billions From Rural Programs 
Some of the biggest losers in President Trump’s proposed budget are the rural communities that fueled his stunning White House victory. Funding that keeps rural airports open, grants that help build rural water and sewer projects, and money for long-distance Amtrak lines that serve rural communities would all disappear under Trump’s budget blueprint released Thursday. (McGrane, 3/16)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Budget Likely To See Major Rewrite In Congress
Republicans were quick to lodge objections on Thursday to President Donald Trump’s budget plans, many of which trim away smaller programs that help the sort of local communities he vowed to rejuvenate during the campaign. The response suggests Mr. Trump’s first blueprint for federal spending, like many before his, is likely to undergo a major rewrite by Congress. (Mann, Chinni and Hughes, 3/16)

San Jose Mercury News: How Trump Budget Hits California
The budget blueprint President Donald Trump released on Thursday would mark an abrupt federal withdrawal from the artistic and environmental projects that Californians hold dear, slashing wetlands restoration and zeroing out the funding of nearly 20 federal agencies — from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a major funding source for NPR and PBS stations, to the national endowments for the arts and humanities. (Murphy, 3/16)

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