HIV/AIDS cuts in Trump budget called ‘shocking,’ ‘cruel’
CDC, NIH, Medicaid funding would be slashed; HIV/AIDS groups vow to fight
By CHRIS JOHNSON, WASHINGTON BLADE
AIDS. It harkens back to the years of inaction under the Reagan administration that fueled the growth of the AIDS epidemic – an epidemic that has been far too costly in American lives and taxpayer dollars.”
‘We’re going to fight it’
Defending the budget proposal at the White House after it was unveiled, Director of the Office of Management & Budget Mick Mulvaney said the request is a “taxpayer-first budget” because it takes into account the effectiveness of government programs.
“Compassion needs to be on both sides of that equation,” Mulvaney said. “Yes, you have to have compassion for folks who are receiving the federal funds, but also you have to have compassion for the folks who are paying it. And that is one of the things that is new about this president’s budget.”
Mulvaney also downplayed the cuts to Medicaid, saying the administration’s proposals would return authority to the states and wouldn’t be as steep as estimated.
“There are no Medicaid cuts in terms of what ordinary human beings would refer to as a cut,” Mulvaney said. “We are not spending less money one year than we spent before. What we are doing is growing Medicaid more slowly over the 10-year budget window than the Congressional Budget Office says that we should or says that we will under current law.”
It remains to be seen whether Congress — which has ultimate authority over the purse — will agree to the cuts, although with both chambers under Republican control and seeking to reduce federal government, that seems likely.
Schmid said HIV/AIDS advocates are bringing the fights against the cuts to Capitol Hill, hoping the historic bipartisan support for HIV/ AIDS funding would restore at least some funds.
“Ryan White and everything is bipartisan and there’s more and more people in program than before,” Schmid said. “So, we’re going to fight it. I think we have a receptive audience on the Hill, but he is the president, and the way they deal, it seems they go big and then they get something, so we are concerned that NIH will be cut. We are concerned in the end, that CDC HIV prevention will be cut. We are concerned in the end that Ryan White could possibly see cuts, but we’re going to fight that.”