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Trump calls for cutting NIH budget, imposing user fees on e-cigarette industry


President Trump on Monday called for cutting the National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget by 12 percent while imposing $100 million in user fees for the e-cigarette industry.

NIH, the government’s medical research agency, would see its spending slashed by about $5 billion under the administration’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal. Congress in recent years has rejected the administration’s proposed cuts to NIH and has instead approved funding increases.

{mosads}The administration is also asking lawmakers to approve a 12 percent funding increase for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which proposed $100 million in user fees on the e-cigarette industry in its budget request. Currently, only cigarettes, cigars and some other tobacco products are subject to those fees.

“The proposal supports FDA’s goal to prevent a new generation of children from becoming addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes,” the budget request says.

FDA chief Scott Gottlieb recently announced his plans to step down, raising questions about whether the agency will pursue some of the ambitious proposals he introduced that are aimed at curbing youth “vaping” and use of e-cigarettes.

The administration’s budget request also calls for instituting a new cap on Medicaid payments.

Overall, the White House is requesting a 12 percent cut for the Department of Health and Human Services.

Congress is not expected to grant the administration’s funding request, as is the case with most presidential budget proposals. Still, the proposal shows the administration’s spending priorities, and provides fodder for Democrats looking to keep up their attacks on GOP health care plans that proved effective in last year’s midterm elections.

“It is disheartening to see a budget that would dismantle so many programs that people rely on every day,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee health panel. “It would be a cold day in hell before I helped pass a budget like this.”

The White House said its budget includes proposals that are needed to make health care spending more “sustainable” and empower states to make decisions.

Democrats also hit Trump over the proposed cuts to Medicare spending, though experts said most of those recommended reductions would affect payments to health care providers that do not directly impact seniors, such as reducing certain payments to hospitals so that they don’t exceed payments to doctors’ offices for the same services.

“The bulk of the Medicare cuts in the administration’s budget are provider payment changes,” said Juliette Cubanski, a Medicare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The Federation of American Hospitals, meanwhile, called the cuts to hospital payments “arbitrary and blunt.”

The administration is also requesting $291 million in new funding to end HIV/AIDS in the United States.

Trump announced the goal in this year’s State of the Union address, saying he wants to reduce new infections by 90 percent within a decade.

The funding request includes $140 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for testing and prevention while “directly supporting states and localities in the fight against HIV.”

Fifty million dollars would go to the Health Resources and Services Administration to expand access to PrEP, a drug that reduces the risk of getting HIV for those most at risk.

“Together these investments will be the first step towards ending the HIV epidemic in America and saving hundreds of thousands of lives,” the administration said in its budget request.

But advocates noted that the funding levels would result in cuts to global AIDS programs.

The White House budget also renews a call for legislation similar to the ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill that lawmakers failed to pass in 2017.

Tags Donald Trump e-cigarettes Rosa DeLauro trump budget

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