Administration’s Proposed FY21 Proposed Budget to Undermine Medicaid and Tobacco Oversight, Harm Critical Lung Health Priorities

President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget proposal significantly cuts funding and would make dangerous changes at federal health agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In response, Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:

“The President’s FY21 budget proposal would slash funding for programs that save lung health, including Medicaid, key public health programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It would also undermine efforts to regulate tobacco control. The President’s budget isn’t just made of numbers on a spreadsheet. Real lives could be affected by inadequate resources.

“The Lung Association opposes the Administration’s proposal to remove the Center from Tobacco Products’ responsibilities from the Food and Drug Administration, making it its own agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. This would give the tobacco industry even more influence amid a youth vaping epidemic that it caused.

“The budget’s nearly 27% cut to EPA would weaken our nation’s ability to clean up air pollution under the Clean Air Act, a law that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the past five decades. The proposed budget would also cut funding for EPA’s clean air programs, grants to states and Native American tribes to improve their own air quality, the popular and successful Diesel Emissions Reduction Grant Program, and environmental enforcement. It would eliminate funding for EPA’s lifesaving work to reduce radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer. We have an opportunity and responsibility to invest in clean air and climate change protections during this important time in history. However, this budget would prevent us from achieving our goals to protect public health. 

“For the third year, the President proposed major cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to block grant funding for tobacco control and chronic disease prevention programs. This approach would have devastating impacts on state asthma programs, tobacco prevention and cessation and tuberculosis control. The budget proposal would also cut funding for the National Center for Environmental Health by over $30 million, eliminating entirely the Climate and Health Program and cutting $5 million from the National Asthma Control Program. While the Lung Association appreciates the proposal to increase support by $40 million at CDC for influenza planning and response, overall, the cuts to CDC would be detrimental to public health.

“The President also proposes to continue to chisel away at quality and affordable healthcare both in Medicaid and within the Affordable Care Act by including $1 trillion cuts over 10 years.  The cuts forecast large enrollment losses and expansion of work requirements, which will hurt people with lung disease who are disproportionately served by this critical program. 

“Finally, once again, the President’s budget proposes to cut the National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $3 billion to $38.7 billion. We need this funding so that researchers can find better treatments and improve early detection methods for lung cancer and other lung diseases. It would also reduce the capacity of lung health research efforts, resulting in fewer breakthroughs in the fight for better treatments and detection of lung cancer, COPD, asthma and other lung diseases.

“The American Lung Association is committed to working with Congress to ensure continued bipartisan support for biomedical research and public health funding, ensuring that Medicaid remains a strong and robust program that provides quality and affordable healthcare for millions of Americans, as well as for strong, independent oversight of tobacco products by FDA. We will continue to advocate for investments in public health, clean air and climate protection, healthcare and biomedical infrastructure so that all Americans can be healthier.”

For more information, contact:

Elizabeth Cook
[email protected]

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