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FY18 Budget Plan Eliminates Oral Health Training Funds

All training funds for oral health professionals are eliminated in the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal.  There is a loss of more than $35 million for oral health training as well. However, the budget proposal increases the National Health Service Corp by $21 million for FY18, a program which places dentists, mental health, and primary care providers in underserved areas of the nation.

The budget proposal dramatically reshapes the role of government in society and shrinks spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years. The reduction to the deficit comes by slashing spending to domestic programs while increasing defense spending by 10 percent. The spending cuts will affect the poor and disabled in rural and inner cities, as well as farmers and recent college graduates.  The budget for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would see significant proposed cuts in all but one of its bureaus.

Some areas of the budget receive significant proposed increases.  These include defense, veterans’ affairs, and homeland security.

The proposed budget calls for significant Medicaid reforms by giving states a choice between a per capita cap and a block grant.  This measure was also part of the American Health Care Act, which the House passed earlier this month. While these reforms are expected to reduce federal Medicaid spending by $610 billion over ten years, the per capita cap and  block grant proposals have been criticized by some as it shifts the costs and risk to the states and potentially puts tens of millions of low-income Americans at risk of losing health coverage.

The budget proposal has faced severe criticism from Democrats and a lukewarm response from many Republicans. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) criticized the budget for cutting programs to the poor and elderly and underfunding medical research. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) panned the plan as “dead on arrival” in Congress.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) praised the proposed budget for its increase to defense spending and slowing the growth of mandatory spending.

 

By Patrick Cooney, The Federal Group, Inc.
Legislative Representative, Dental Trade Alliance