AAP President Fernando Stein, M.D., FAAP, is urging members of Congress to reject President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget because spending cuts would impact programs critical to the health, safety and well-being of the nation’s children.
Dr. Stein sent a letter to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee Tuesday, detailing objections to the proposed budget released by the White House last week.
The letter cites “drastic cuts” to the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture and State, and the Environmental Protection Agency that range from 13.5% to 31%. The cuts would slash funding for programs that support nutrition, scientific partnerships/research, public health initiatives, medical training, energy assistance, housing assistance, and before- and after-school programs.
“In department after department, agency after agency, programs that protect children are severely cut or proposed for elimination altogether,” the letter noted. In addition, proposed funding reductions for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development … “would be detrimental to children around the world.”
The letter explains that the budget proposal needs to be taken in context with the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the health reform proposal supported by the administration now moving through Congress. If enacted, the AHCA will result in 14 million fewer Americans having insurance in 2018 and 24 million fewer by 2026, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office.
“No amount of money in a Federal Emergency Response Fund will be sufficient if the AHCA causes more families to leave health care coverage and access to preventive care, including vaccines,” Dr. Stein points out.
Every year, the Academy urges members of Congress to “put children first” when considering federal spending decisions and to resist attempts to cut important child health programs to achieve savings for other endeavors.
“Unfortunately,” the letter states, “the budget proposed by President Trump falls far short of this imperative.”