Steep budget cuts to federal spending will hit the healthcare sector particularly hard, affecting no other portion of the economy more than defense. “Although the Medicare program will account for the largest chunk of dollars cut from healthcare simply because of its great size, the scheduled 2% reduction in its payments to doctors and hospitals is significantly smaller than what many public health and research programs face. Laboratories at major universities and medical centers are already laying off scientists, even before the latest round of cuts is scheduled to take effect.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Health programs which will feel the cuts most severely are those which have already labored under inattention for years, including mental health and new medical research. “Anxieties also run high among researchers who rely on grants from the National Institutes of Health. NIH Director Francis Collins told reporters this week that his agency was looking at losing $1.6 billion by the end of the year. That comes after a decade of flat budgets.” At a time when medical technology has facilitated discovery, financial support for what can be done has steadily eroded.