President’s budget not heart-healthy, Heart Association warns

photoWhite House Photo

The American Heart Association issued the following statement today from the organization’s president, Ivor J. Benjamin, M.D., FAHA, in response to the Trump Administration’s FY 2020 Budget Proposal.

“The president’s proposed budget includes massive funding cuts for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. If enacted as is, this budget could have a serious impact on the nation’s heart health.

“The budget plan includes the same funding cuts we’ve condemned for the past two years. This budget not only slashes medical research, prevention, access to health care, and essential nutrition programs, it does little to address cardiovascular disease (CVD) and its growing threat in our country.

“The proposed cut of $ 4.9 billion to NIH funding is shocking for many reasons – from the disregard for health research to the negative economic impact it would have. While the budget messaging proudly touts increases to certain areas of NIH funding, the proposal completely neglects to support stroke and heart disease research. In fact, the plan proposed slashes the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s funding by nearly $500 million. Investments in NIH are economic drivers in communities across the country and essential to ensuring the future health of our nation.


“In addition to drastic cuts to NIH, CDC funding would be decreased by $750 million if this proposal were to be enacted as is.  The American Heart Association strongly urges Congress to reject this approach and commit to significantly increasing the investment in chronic disease prevention, particularly the CDC’s state-based programs for CVD.

“The American Heart Association has identified that almost half of the population have some form of CVD. After decades of a steady decline in the U.S., CVD deaths are on the rise, which points to the great and urgent need for more research. This budget proposal blatantly ignores the health needs of Americans and the great importance of prevention efforts in reducing heart disease and stroke rates. We need a budget that addresses the health and economic crisis that CVD poses to our nation, and this plan simply fails to prioritize health care, research, and prevention.

“Additionally, the Trump Administration proposal takes aim at Medicaid, an essential program that provides health care for low income people and individuals with disabilities across the country. Included in the budget proposal is the latest attempt to cut Medicaid through per capita caps or block grants. Significant cuts to Medicaid would have a direct impact on the health and well-being of millions of individuals who rely on the program for access to needed care.

“Funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would also face a $219 billion cut over the next ten years. SNAP plays a key role in addressing food insecurity and poor nutrition in this country. In addition, this budget proposal eliminates the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) grant program, which will undermine the ability of schools to adequately fund their physical education activities.

“The American Heart Association does support the funding increase of $643 million for the Food and Drug Administration included in this budget proposal, including the addition of a new user fee for e-cigarettes, which have become extremely popular with youth and young adults and threaten to addict a new generation to nicotine.”