Alec Stone
Alec Stone MA, MPA, ONS Public Affairs Director

Each spring marks a new budget season in Washington, DC. It’s a time of year that provides a glimpse into policy priorities for the fiscal year. In March 2019, the Office of Management and Budget released its 2020 funding allocations for the entire federal government. The budget was comprised after each federal department spent the preceding months looking at their previous year’s budget and outlined programmatic priorities that align with the president’s agenda.

For 2020, the Trump administration offered—by almost every estimation—a dramatically reduced budget for health and welfare programs. The immediate response in the U.S. Congress was cold at best. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations subcommittee, voiced her dismay.

“The president’s budget proposes to reduce funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) by $5.2 billion, or 13%, below the fiscal year 2019 level. At this funding level, NIH would be forced to make nearly 3,800 fewer new research grants compared to 2019. That is a reduction of 32%—to the lowest level since 1998,” DeLauro said. “At that level, NIH would be forced to drastically cut back its critical research. It would mean less funding for Alzheimer research; less funding for cancer research; less funding for infectious disease research. It would mean no funding for new areas of discovery.”

Some health-related federal programs being cut include:

  • An overall cut to the Department of Health and Human Services by $12.7 billion, a 14% decrease
  • Reduced investment in biomedical research spending at the NIH by $5 billion
  • Cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $750 million
  • A decrease to the Health Resources Services Administration by $1 billion, including programs to train for careers in health professions like nursing

Advocates—oncology nurses included—must continue to educate their federal representatives on the necessity of funding for critical programs at appropriate levels. ONS is joining the health and provider communities in this effort, so get involved and educate lawmakers with the patient and provider perspective.