President’s Proposed Budget Includes Steep Cuts to Health IT Initiatives
Health IT leaders have roundly rejected President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal which, among other detrimental cuts, slashes funding for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) by $22 million, reducing funding to $38 million in 2018. ONC’s annual budget for the past few years has been $60 million.
“We are disappointed by the Administration’s proposed cuts to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). The bipartisan passage of the Cures Act by Congress last year made clear that investment in our nation’s health IT infrastructure is critically important if we are to advance new drugs and devices and fully realize the benefits of a learning healthcare system. ONC is a critical partner in this endeavor,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, CAE, FAHIMA.
Gordon further reiterated AHIMA’s request to Congress earlier this year that congressional appropriators ensure that ONC is properly funded and that they maintain their commitment to meeting the goals of the 21st Century Cures Act.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) portion of the budget, which was released Tuesday, also includes the following cuts:
- An $800 billion cut to Medicaid
- A $5.6 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health
- A $100 million cut from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences
- A $21 million cut from the National Library of Medicine
- A near elimination of the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research
The cuts to the NIH, which funds medical research efforts, would include cuts to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The budget also cuts funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by $1.3 billion. John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health, called the CDC cuts “perilous for the health of the American people,” according to NPR. “From Ebola to Zika to opioid misuse to diabetes to heart disease, the CDC is on the front lines keeping Americans healthy.”
Other health IT groups criticized the proposal, including the American Medical Informatics Association, CHIME, and HIMSS.
“I just think it’s the prerogative of Congress to make those decisions in consultation with the president,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) told Modern Healthcare, noting that the Medicaid cuts are particularly unpopular. “But almost every president’s budget proposal that I know of is basically dead on arrival.”