White House budget proposals are often more vision than reality. But they offer revealing insights into an administration’s values and priorities. Unfortunately, in the case of President Donald Trump’s new budget plan, many of those priorities are out of step with public health, proposing significant cuts to vital programs and agencies.

“In a time where life expectancy is falling, our leadership should be investing in better health, not cutting federal health budgets,” said APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, in a news release. “This budget, put simply, kicks the can of worsening American health down the road.”

Trump released his fiscal year 2020 federal budget proposal in March, recommending huge cuts across the federal government, including a 12 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a 10 percent cut for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At CDC, a reduction of that magnitude equates to a $750 million spending cut over fiscal year 2019. APHA member John Auerbach, MBA, president and CEO of Trust for America’s Health, said the proposed CDC cuts not only threaten federal public health capacity, they would have a “devastating” impact on state and local public health departments, which depend heavily on CDC dollars flowing down to the community level.

“Local health departments are still down more than 50,000 jobs from where they were in 2008,” Auerbach told The Nation’s Health. “If large cuts like these were passed, it would seriously harm the overall capacity of state and local public health departments to respond.”

To continue reading this story from the May 2019 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.