By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy
Executive Order to Fight Opioid Epidemic
President Trump is a preparing a new executive order that would outline recommendations for the nation’s fight against opioid addiction. According to report released in STAT, the executive order would form a commission of four top Trump aides, including Attorney General Jeffery Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, and Defense Secretary James Mattis. The commission would be led by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and would be fleshed out with another five other yet-to-be-named officials from the state government level, law enforcement, and other areas potentially impacted by the national crisis.
President Trump has previously noted that more could be done to stop the opioid epidemic in the United States. Working across federal departments, many Cabinet secretaries have agreed to share resources to make advancements against the opioid epidemic. We should see some success in the coming year, but more lasting results will likely have to wait. Much of the effort will depend on the federal budget and the allocations to agencies with earmarks for this effort. ONS continues to advocate for access to pain management for patients with cancer.
Trump Administration Proposes Cuts to Spending in 2017 and 2018
The 2017 budget has been settled for some time now. However, the Trump Administration recently asked Congress to cut nearly $18 billion from this year’s discretionary funding. The proposed cuts that came down from the White House would impact the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Agriculture, and even the Department of Education. However, these proposed cuts were met with resistance among many Congressional representatives.
Trump’s budget proposal for 2018 is making waves as well. In a seemingly rare bipartisan display, members on both sides of the aisle have commented that the president’s proposed budget was far too draconian with its proposed cuts to the NIH for federal funding of research programs. Because almost 20% of the NIH’s budget is on the chopping block, it’s hard to see how the budget cuts would lead to advancements in biomedical research and health care. These are difficult times, and it’s more incumbent on advocates—like ONS members—to rise up and make the case for healthcare priorities. ONS has joined many other organizations in coalition efforts to secure funding for research.
White House Supports April as Cancer Control Month
The White House recently published its annual announcement for April as Cancer Control Month. Following in the footsteps of past administrations, the White House is encouraging all Americans to discuss potential screening and prevention methods with their doctors. The White House noted that many potential cancers can be prevented. The administration is encouraging healthy lifestyle choices, including physical activity, being tobacco free, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption, and seeking regular checkups with healthcare providers.
The announcement also mentioned the administration’s support for the 21st Century Cures Act, which aims to provide funding to cancer research and development. As part of Cancer Control Month, the White House salutes the support and dedication of the millions of U.S. healthcare professionals, advocates, and caregivers supporting patients fighting cancer every day. April also serves to honor the memories of those who have died after a cancer diagnoses.