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    Doctor groups fear Trump’s ‘unprecedented’ proposed budget cuts

    President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget includes major spending cuts for medical education programs and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, each of which could have negative impacts on doctors, according to organizations like the American College of Physicians (ACP) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

     

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    Backers of the budget counter that the proposed cuts still leave healthcare funding at adequate levels.

    The proposed budget in its present form is unlikely to be approved by Congress, but that doesn’t mean doctors can breathe a sigh of relief. The proposal demonstrates the administration’s desire to aggressively cut non-defense discretionary government spending. That could continue to put healthcare spending in the crosshairs as budget negotiations pick up steam this spring.

    Chris Sloan, manager at Avalere Health, a Washington, D.C.-based healthcare consulting firm, said Congress is unlikely to keep all of Trump’s budget parameters intact. But the proposed budget “indicates the fiscal challenges we’re going to have for 2018,” says Karen Fisher, JD, AAMC’s chief public policy officer.

    In March, the White House released what it’s calling its “America First” budget for fiscal year 2018. The document, which focuses only on discretionary spending and excludes entitlement and mandatory spending programs, calls for $54 billion in increased defense spending, to be offset by cuts to other programs.

     

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    Among the proposed cuts are $5.8 billion in NIH funding and a $403 million reduction in medical education programs. The overall budget for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees most healthcare spending, would be trimmed by $15.1 billion. The budget also calls for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to be folded into NIH but has no details on whether NIH would get any additional funding to continue the AHRQ’s research mission.

    Next: NIH funding cut is "unprecedented"

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