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Trump’s 2018 budget could hurt oral health access, research

May 24, 2017 Washington — President Trump on May 23 released his budget for fiscal year 2018, which contains cuts to many programs vital to the nation’s safety net, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and other federal support programs.

The budget also recommends cutting more than $105 million in funding to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and zeroed out the Health Resources and Services Administration's Title VII general and pediatric dental residencies.

In a statement, ADA President Gary L. Roberts called the proposed cuts "drastic" and said that the "unprecedented 20-percent" cut to the National Institutes of Health could "dramatically reduce the effectiveness of our nation's premier health research facility."

"The Association is alarmed by a requested reduction of more than $100 million in the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research's budget," Dr. Roberts said. "While we are sympathetic to the notion of fiscal restraint, we oppose such a drastic slash in research funding."

Here are the proposed cuts that could severely negatively affect oral health research and access:
  • Despite appropriators recommending the agency set aside at least $10 million each for general dentistry and pediatric dental residencies, the president allotted zero funding for HRSA's general and pediatric residencies. Other HRSA programs that did not receive funding include the Dental Loan Faculty Repayment, Area Health Education Centers and the Health Careers Opportunity Program.
  • The funding request for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention oral health programs was $17 million, down $1 million from 2017.  
For the Indian Health Services dental program, the president requested $179.8 million in funding. The Ryan White AIDS Dental Services received $13.1 million, which was consistent with 2017.

The budget is expected to be heavily revised following markups by the House and Senate appropriations committees.

"One of the initial steps in [the budget] process is typically for the president to send up a blueprint of his own, laying out his priorities as members continue to work through conversations here as well," said Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate majority leader.

Dr. Roberts urged Congress to set aside the Trump Administration's budget proposal and "craft a spending measure that is thoughtful and prudent."

"There are areas of the federal budget that need trimming, but cuts like the ones proposed by the White House would be a devastating, and completely uncalled-for step backward after years of progress in improving the nation's oral health," Dr. Roberts said.