WASHINGTON, DC | May 23, 2017
The President's budget would significantly cut funding for critical lung health programs, gutting lifesaving resources at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In response, Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:
"Congress must reject this budget. The sweeping, destructive cuts detailed in the President's Fiscal Year 2018 budget would result in the weakening of America's health security. The federal budget supports core programs that protect the health of Americans. Slashing funding for the federal public health and biomedical infrastructure would make Americans less secure and less protected from known health threats, and result in more lives lost to lung diseases. Similarly, devastating cuts to funding for the Environmental Protection Agency programs that safeguard the air we breathe would leave millions of Americans at increased risk for asthma attacks and premature death. Rather than putting America's health first, this budget instead puts the health and safety of all Americans – but especially our nation's most vulnerable, such as lower-income Americans, children and those living with a lung disease like asthma – in jeopardy.
"Cuts to key lung health programs include:
- Medicaid: This proposal mimics the changes to Medicaid included in the House-passed American Health Care Act, limiting federal funding for Medicaid for the first time, and cutting $610 billion to this critical safety net program over the next 10 years.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): The President's budget proposes to cut the NIH by $7.2 billion to $26.9 billion, 21 percent reduction – at a time when even more promising treatments lung cancer and lung diseases are within our grasp. The budget would cut funding for the National Cancer Institute and the NIH's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute by 17 and 21 percent, respectively.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Under the funding proposed in the President's proposed budget, the CDC will no longer be able to protect our nation's public health from both chronic disease and infections threats. The proposed budget includes a radical change to the CDC, replacing program-specific funding with new block grants – and then significantly slashing funding, including $222 billion to the Center on Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, where the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health is located. This budget proposal would also cut $60 million to the National Center on Environmental Health, which includes key lung health programs such as the National Asthma Control Program and the Climate and Health Program. Overall, two-thirds of CDC's budget goes to fund state and local departments of health – and this budget would leave the front lines of our nation's public health infrastructure without the defenses it needs to protect our nation's health security.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The President's budget proposes slashing EPA's funding by 31 percent. Despite the Administration's rhetoric about giving states more authority to address dangerous pollution, the budget would slash categorical grants to states, localities and Tribes, to $597 million. The nation, states and local governments would be less able to clean up air pollution and address climate change – leading to more asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and premature deaths caused by air pollution. The proposed budget would also completely eliminate lifesaving initiatives, including the radon program, which reduces the second-leading cause of lung cancer, as well as EPA's environmental justice activities
"The bottom line is that this budget will devastate the public health infrastructure and place American lives at risk.
"The American Lung Association calls on Congress to reject this budget, work together in a bipartisan way to raise the FY18 budget caps to start with a balanced approach that protects vital lung health programs at CDC, EPA and NIH. The Lung Association remains committed to working with Congress to ensure that support for our nation's public health, environmental protection and biomedical infrastructure remains sound, so that all Americans live healthier lives."
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, which has a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Platinum-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.