We’re reading how arguments for cuts to health and science spending don’t add up

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Trump’s unethical aid cuts – Yes, in real dollars the United States spends more on foreign aid than other countries, but in relation to U.S. gross national income, it falls far short of paying its fair share. This piece by Princeton bioethics professor Peter Singer debunks the Trump administration’s justification for the foreign aid spending cuts it proposes, and its argument that it’s time for other nations to step up. Singer notes that while this country already is spending a smaller percent of its gross national income on foreign aid than a number of countries, the Trump proposal would put it behind in real dollars as well. In addition, Singer writes, the with extremely limited resources now to provide health care  are both “indicative of a deep disregard for the lives and well being of people beyond the borders of the U.S.” and counterproductive, with the potential to deepen, rather than lessen dependence on aid, threatening the economic progress made by countries that would face new rising rates of preventable illnesses, disability, and deaths.

Preserving the Fogarty Center – Benefits for Americans and the World – Similarly, “the small reduction in the federal budget that would result from its elimination would be far outweighed by what would be lost,” write the current and past Fogarty International Center grant recipients, who in this New England Journal of Medicine commentary break down the contributions of the center that seeks to address diseases challenging health both and home and abroad, and supports the training of U.S. scientists in the process. The authors caution that while appropriators did give the National Institutes of Health a slight boost in its funding for fiscal year 2017, the Center remains vulnerable in the ongoing budget budget negotiations.

“Major Savings and Reforms” – In the meantime the language justifying the Trump proposal to eliminate the Fogarty Center is misleading. The administration’s Major Savings and Reforms document (the same document that counts the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief among  “programs that fall short on results or provide little return to the American people”)  describes the Center as one that “supports international research capacity and training of researchers overseas,” omitting mention of the 80 percent of its grant funding that supports U.S. academic and research centers. In addition, the Trump administration document promises that “International research will be prioritized, as appropriate, by other NIH Institutes as part of their research portfolios,” adding that “For example, NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease conducts international research that has important implications for U.S. health improvements,” while overlooking that NIAID research frequently relies on Fogarty trainees to run trial sites in country.

A prescription for health care reform that won’t make Ohioans sicker and How the Republican health care plan would affect my HIV patients – In the meantime, as the battle to control HIV continues at home, HIV physicians enumerate the obstacles the Republican Senate health plan would present to treatment and prevention efforts across the U.S.

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