We are nearly halfway through the year and 2017 has kept us on our toes! Our state legislative session ended in early May with political shake-ups and funding for the rail unresolved. At the Federal level, Congress rushed through the American Health Care Act (read our statement), and the Senate now works on its own version of a health care bill, which is expected to be significantly different.
Adding even more uncertainty, President Trump recently released his proposed budget, which would do serious harm to public health in Hawai‘i and across the nation if Congress were to support it. The proposed cuts:
- Reduce healthcare spending by $866 billion over 10 years primarily through Medicaid limits;
- Cut over 1.2 billion from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including eliminating the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program, the Prevention Research Centers, the Injury Control Research Centers, and the Elderly Falls program;
- Eliminate dedicated funding for CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and cut $222 million from CDC chronic disease prevention programs;
- Cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $192 billion over 10 years;
- Eliminate virtually all funding for the Community Services Block Grant, which helps fund efforts like Meals on Wheels and job training for individuals seeking employment;
- Cut funding to the National Institutes of health by $5.8 billion (about an 18 percent cut);
- Cut funding for Native Hawaiian Education Programs and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grants;
- Cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency by over 31 percent;
- Cut Social Security Disability Insurance; and
- Terminate the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.
In addition to overhauling health care, President Trump’s proposed budget will disproportionately impact the elderly, poor, sick, and disabled. Although it appears this budget will not pass, it is important to let your elected officials know that you do not support the President’s proposed budget. HIPHI will continue to keep you posted on updates to the budget and health care reform bills.
Mahalo for your continued support,