Republican voters are gung-ho about cutting funding from humanitarian programs abroad and gutting environmental organizations like the EPA, but will they support the GOP’s proposed budget which eliminated a staggering one billion dollars in funding from the National Cancer institute?
According to President Trump’s latest budget titled, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” an aspect of that “greatness” is apparently a drastic slash in funding to cancer research.
“The National Cancer Institute would be hit with a $1 billion cut compared to its 2017 budget. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute would see a $575 million cut, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases would see a reduction of $838 million. The administration would cut the overall National Institutes of Health budget from $31.8 billion to $26 billion.”
Healthcare leaders say the cuts to the National Cancer Institute and other health organizations is devastating. In fact, those leaders say the NIH should be bolstered, not slashed.
The NCI is the federal government’s primary agency devoted to the research and training of cancer treatment and prevention.
“Most of our budget is used to fund grants and contracts to universities, medical schools, cancer centers, research laboratories, and private firms in the United States and about 60 other countries around the world.”
Rather than defending their drastic health cuts, the Trump Administration has instead focused on the aspects of their cuts that affect climate change research, arguing that taxpayer money is being wasted by investigating the human effect on the environment.
Director of the OMB Mick Mulvaney argued, “The National Science Foundation last year used your taxpayer money to fund a climate change musical. Do you think that’s a waste of your money?”
Mulvaney argued that efforts by the previous administration involving health and science went much too far.
“We are simply trying to get things back in order to where we can look at the folks who pay the taxes and say, ‘Look, yeah, we want to do some climate science. But we’re not going to do some of the crazy stuff the previous administration did.’ ”
While the administration may be able to rely on low-information voters to defend some aspects of their drastic cuts, cutting a significant amount of cancer funding is unconscionable, and not at all defensible.
According to the NIH, nearly 1,700,000 were diagnosed with cancer in 2016, and nearly 600,000 died from the disease. The number of people who survive cancer is growing as we learn more about the disease, but that research and progress cannot be made without significant funding from the federal government.
“The cancer research community—under the leadership of the NCI—is poised to accelerate the rate of scientific discovery and reduce the burden of cancer in the United States and around the world. Achieving these goals, however, requires strong and sustained funding for a wide range of research disciplines—from basic science to clinical science to research on implementation and cancer care delivery.”