Press Room

ASTHO Statement on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

ARLINGTON, VA (May 23, 2017)—Michael Fraser, executive director of ASTHO, issued the following statement on President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget, “A New Foundation for American Greatness”: 

“ASTHO acknowledges that the president’s FY18 budget prioritizes some state and territorial public health needs, however, we are extremely concerned about the significant proposed cuts to HHS and its operating divisions including CDC, HRSA, SAMHSA, FDA, and other federal agencies. We should be advancing our investments in prevention and public health, but this budget signals a retreat from key health programs including public health security, emergency preparedness, and chronic disease prevention.

State and territorial health agencies are already facing many challenges in the current fiscal environment and will not be able to make up the federal funding reductions. Federal resources account for an average of nearly half of all state and territorial health department funding. The FY18 budget reduces or outright eliminates many vital public health programs. Many states and territories have already prepared to cut programs, layoff staff, and undergo major reorganizations within their health agencies.

ASTHO opposes the proposal to eliminate the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant, which is replaced with the “America’s Health Block Grant,” a new program to address chronic disease prevention. The Prevent Block Grant is a critical source of funding for states and territories. The potential loss of this funding, even with the proposed America’s Health Block Grant, will slow our progress in addressing state health priorities.

We appreciate that the Administration sought ways to reduce administrative burden on states and increase flexibility in this budget. We all agree that we must identify efficiencies in program implementation and administration. However, these changes should be made with careful consideration to ensure sustained and robust support for the work of preparedness, response, and prevention. It is through preparedness, health promotion, and disease prevention activities, the core work of state and territorial health agencies, that we will truly realize savings in our healthcare system. It is far more effective to prevent illness than to treat it. States and territories need continued federal support for these population health efforts if we are to see long-term improvements in health and reduced spending on healthcare.

We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to secure sustained funding for all state and territorial public health agencies and our federal partners to ensure a truly great foundation for our nation’s health and well-being.”

ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in state-based public health practice.

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