Proposed Trump Cuts Imperil Mental Health, Health Care, Education and More

The budget proposed by President Donald J. Trump threatens critical health, scientific research and education programs that contribute to the social safety net for millions of Americans, according to the American Psychological Association.

“This budget, if enacted, would jeopardize our nation’s educational, scientific and health enterprises and limit access to critically needed mental and behavioral health services,” said APA President Antonio E. Puente, PhD. “These cuts would disproportionately affect people living in poverty, people with serious mental illness and other disabilities, women, children, people living with HIV/AIDS, older adults, ethnic and racial minorities, immigrants, and members of the LGBTQ community.”

“While every administration must make difficult budget decisions, any attempts to balance the federal budget should increase, not decrease, the number of Americans who have access to high-quality education, health care and social support,” said APA CEO Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD. “APA calls on Congress to reject this budget proposal and replace it with one that protects and increases access to services and care for all Americans.”

Among the cuts denounced by APA:

•    $7.2 billion from the National Institutes of Health, approximately a 21 percent decrease from the FY 2017 level, which would result in 1,946 fewer grants. The National Science Foundation would receive a cut of approximately $820 million compared to FY 2017, a decrease of 11 percent.

•    More than $600 billion in reductions over the next decade from the Medicaid program, which could eliminate Medicaid benefits for about 7.5 million people. The proposal also includes the option for states to choose between a per capita cap or a block grant beginning in FY 2020. Medicaid is the single largest payer for behavioral health services in the United States, accounting for over 25 percent of behavioral health spending.

•    Elimination of the Graduate Psychology Education Program, the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program, and the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, which together would reduce mental health workforce training by nearly $100 million.

•    Almost $400 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, including a roughly 22 percent reduction from the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant.

•    14 percent ($9.2 billion) from the U.S. Department of Education, eliminating investments in educational equity and quality, including slashing other key programs that support gifted students, effective teaching and professional development.

•    Elimination of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and programmatic changes that would prolong repayment periods for students with graduate school loans.

•    13.2 percent cut from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, including elimination of the Community Development Block Grant.

•    $200 million reduction for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

•    Elimination of 75 employees from the Office of Justice Programs, including a cut of over 30 percent, reducing the office’s budget from $1.8 billion to $1.3 billion. The agency administers critical juvenile and criminal justice grants and houses the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Bureau of Justice Assistance and National Institute of Justice.

“A strong educational system is the foundation of a globally competitive workforce that fosters innovation, discovery and research,” Puente said. “As other countries continue to invest in education as part of their economic and workforce development strategies, the need for increased federal investment in American education has never been more important to our nation’s economic stability, national security and public health.”

“APA looks forward to working with Congress to ensure a more balanced approach to addressing our nation’s fiscal 2018 budget priorities, including making progress on increasing access to mental health care and addressing the opioid epidemic, investing in the scientific enterprise and expanding access to higher education for all Americans,” Evans added.

American Psychological Association Urges Congress to Reject President’s Proposed Budget

Mick Mulvaney defending Trump budget cuts.

The American Psychological Association expressed serious concerns regarding deep cuts in the president’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget that the organization says will curtail advances in research and education while threatening the health, well-being and competitiveness of our nation.

“The APA is strongly opposed to the harsh cuts to vital domestic programs in the administration’s budget blueprint,” said APA President Antonio Puente, PhD. “These proposed cuts would severely limit the federal investment in science, health, education and human service programs. We urge Congress to reject the administration’s budget.”

The proposed budget calls for a $54 billion increase in defense and homeland security spending (approximately 10 percent) for fiscal year 2018 with corresponding cuts to domestic programs. With a few exceptions, like veterans’ health care, most domestic programs would be cut substantially. These drastic cuts to education, health, safety net programs and science would undermine the research pipeline, workforce and supports for underserved populations and communities that are most at risk, according to the APA.

If enacted, the Trump administration’s “skinny budget” released yesterday would cut research at the National Institutes of Health by a historically unprecedented 18 percent ($6 billion), slash health professions funding by 77 percent ($403 million) and reduce programs at the Department of Education by 14 percent and the Department of Housing and Urban Development by 13.2 percent.

“Behavioral research is critical to NIH’s mission. For example, the National Academy of Medicine recently reaffirmed that over 50 percent of premature mortality in the U.S. is due to behaviors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle and alcohol and other drug consumption,” said Puente. “Understanding how best to encourage behavior change and maintaining that change over time is at the heart of much research on diabetes, cancer prevention, healthy aging and addiction. If our nation is to continue to accelerate the development of life-changing cures, pioneering treatments and innovative prevention strategies, it is essential to sustain predictable increases in the NIH budget.”

The APA also expressed its opposition to the devastating 77 percent cut in the Health Resources and Services Administration’s health professions training programs, which could jeopardize funding for the Graduate Psychology Education Program that is vital to developing a competent psychology workforce and improving access to integrated care for those in rural and underserved areas.

Health and safety net programs would also be harmed by the cuts in this budget, according to the APA. The 18.9 percent cut in the Department of Health and Human Services would put at risk the Title X family planning program, support for caregivers, Minority Fellowship Program, Head Start and other programs. The proposed $200 million reduction in the Department of Agriculture’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children would deprive low-income pregnant or breastfeeding women and infants of desperately needed food and health care referrals.

Cuts to the Department of Education target needed programs including afterschool, academic and cultural enrichment programs and reduce support for programs designed to increase access to higher education for low-income, first-generation students, according to the APA.

Additionally, the 13.2 percent cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development would likely restrict services for homeless persons, many of whom suffer from untreated mental disorders.

“The extreme positions advocated in this budget should serve as an impetus for psychologists and everyone concerned about science, health, education and human welfare to weigh in now with their members of Congress to oppose the large domestic cuts that would adversely impact the ability of scientists, educators and clinicians to create and communicate knowledge and improve people’s lives” said Puente.

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