Posted by: Audrey Erbes | April 2, 2017

Attacks on Health Agency Budgets and Future of Single Payer System

Republican Administration Seeks Major Cuts in Public Health Agency Budgets

The Trump administration continues to mercilessly pound agency budgets. The deadline of April 28 for approving the continuing 2017 budget resolution will likely prevent the proposed cuts for this fiscal year for health agency budget. Congress is most likely to pass a budget resolution extending the current budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The proposed health agency cuts proposed by the Trump administration for the balance of fiscal 2017 would slash $1.23 billion from the NIH’s budget, cut $40 million from the FDA’s budget and $50 million from the CMS and $314 million from the CDC. This effort as already noted is unlikely to pass due to time constraints to modify the bill by the deadline. But this level of cuts portends what is likely to come in the 2018 budget.

“Trump Calls For NIH, FDA Cuts In Fy17,” by Steve Usdin, BioCentury,

Last week the Senate took away protections to Title IX funding of family planning instituted by President Obama with the tie breaking vote cast by VP Pence. Title X is a federal program dedicated solely to family planning with more than 4 million people relying on it for preventive health care. The Senate voted Friday to overturn those protections.

The tide is shifting regarding ideology regarding the role of government. There is a moderate wing of House Republicans that recognizes their constituents see health care as a right. The moderate Republicans certainly recognize from their recent experience on the Trumpcare bill fiasco that their constituents want universal health care.

California Renews Efforts to Pass Single Payer System

A single-payer health care system is not a new idea in California. A bill was passed to that effect a decade ago but Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill. While there is support for such coverage there are also hurdles to overcome. Key provisions include:

  • Inpatient, outpatient, emergency care, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care
  • No co-pays or insurance deductibles
  • Ability to choose your own doctor from a huge list of health care providers rather than an insurer’s network

Hurdles are financial and political. Governor Jerry Brown can’t see where the money would come from. Wiithout Federal support to provide Medicare and Medicaid funding, there wouldn’t be sufficient funds. Taxpayers would have to agree to pay mandated costs in form of higher taxes in place of health insurance. Organizations that propose limited government see such a plan as a utopian socialist plan.

Health care delivery corporations who have taken over organizing delivery of care from single physicians who once were overwhelming majority of doctors delivering care. This structure in past has been replaced by doctors who are on staff of these health care delivery organizations. Their business model is that of a for profit corporation that seeks to raise rates each year to show increasing profits to their shareholders. This is a “market” based model which the USA has developed alongside mostly single payer systems in other highly developed democracies. Citizens might reject the idea of “socialist” basis which opponents have used successfully for many years.  Or be afraid of losing prompt access to physicians which single payer systems can experience waiting lists are created to accommodate insufficient services for nonemergency care.

Source: House bill SB562 entitled Healthy California Act was introduced by Sen. Ricardo Lara and Sen. Toni Atkins. The full text is available at

Chuck Todd provided interesting data on Meet the Press today showing that there are 24 moderate Republicans who recognize their constituents’ needs and wishes regarding the role of government are not in alignment with the Freedom Caucus members nor other house Republicans.

Other Congress people are planning to submit bills to Congress which would mean supporting the system as a nation. This seems unlikely with current control by Republicans but perhaps Bernie Sanders’ planned bill Medicare for all might shake loose interest from moderate Republicans.

When Charles Krauthammer writes in his Sunday editorial today that in the end, a single payer system will win out, I have hope that the tide has turned. Bernie Sanders’ new bill just might have a chance.

Action Items

  • Donate to Planned Parenthood to support this organization against the assaults of congressmen who don’t understand the value of Planned Parenthood in providing basic health care for millions of low income or those without health insurance. Planned Parenthood provides services efficiently and economically versus for profit health care institutions that don’t serve working class women with these services at affordable price.
  • Attend meeting about Single Payer Health Care in CA, Wednesday, April 5, 7:00 pm.

Location: Woodside Road United Methodist Church, 2000 Woodside Rd. Redwood City, Redwood City, CA 94061

Description: San Mateo County Democracy for America is proud to present Dr. Paul Song — a physician, progressive activist and member of the executive board of Physicians for a National Health Program — for updates about the new legislation for universal healthcare.Discover how California can show the rest of the country the way to provide excellent healthcare for less money and what we can do to help!Free Admission – Wheelchair Accessible
This monthly meeting is open to the public. For questions please contact Carole Dorshkind – or 650-766-2162

Details and registration at

Bay Area Life Science Events Week of April 2, 2017

  • QB3, Monday MidDay, April 3, 2017, Topic: “How Federal Politics Impact Funding for Science and Startups, Speaker: Ryan Davison, government affairs manager at the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC
  • JLABS, Thursday, April 6, 2017, Event: MedTech Innovator 2017: JLABS Pitch Event
  • Triple Ring Technologies, Thursday Evening, April 6, 2017, Topic: “The Future of Immuno-Neurology,” Speaker:Rich Casey, CEO, Neuraltus Pharmaceuticals

You can download the details for the upcoming events this week and those through June 2017 with Audreys Picks April 2 2017.



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