Monday, June 19, 2017

With Trump’s Budget Cuts, Americans Should Worry About Their Health and Safety

By Morgan Statt **

We can spend all day taking a look at the way Trump behaves. The media loves to analyze his every move, so much so that it’s hard to forget when he essentially shoved the leader of Montenegro out of the way or that time he tweeted out “covfefe.” By the way, did you know an Illinois lawmaker is looking to turn into federal law a ‘COVFEFE’ bill focused on documenting Presidential activity?

There’s an understandable reason why the media wants to highlight his behavior. It enables us to find a bit of comical relief in the caricature of Trump as we cope with the realization that he’s actually our President. But, there comes a point when we need to remember that Trump isn’t just a dramatized photo we can marvel at. He’s our President, and the scope of changes he’s hoping to bring about could have a very damaging effect on our health and safety. For starters, his 2018 fiscal budget proposal should cause a high level of concern for American consumers.

If you’ve been hearing a lot of discussion surrounding the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s likely because this organization is set to lose 31% of its funding if Trump’s proposal is passed. This budget cut would not only impact the agency’s ability to clean up the country’s hazardous waste sites through its Superfund program, but it would also eliminate regional programs focused on restoring polluted areas. Sections of the country ranging from the Great Lakes region to Chesapeake Bay may see a decreased water quality and a higher likelihood of waterborne diseases if these clean-up programs are nixed.

As if these cuts weren’t enough, perhaps the biggest impact the EPA faces is the potential crippling of its enforcement office. If the proposal is passed, the regulation of environmental hazards would fall on state and local governments to enforce, potentially making it easier for corporations to find a way around specific health and safety requirements. It didn’t take long for the question to be raised as to whether or not the states will be able to carry out the same level of enforcement as the federal agency. We’ve already begun to see the effects of the Trump Administration’s EPA through a recently filed lawsuit against it. Multiple health organizations are accusing the EPA of not protecting the California farm workers who suffered pesticide poisoning after a controversial chemical was approved.

In addition to the onslaught of environmental issues the country now faces, Americans’ health is another direct concern. For one, Trump’s plan includes a $222 million dollar drawback to the funding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s chronic disease programs. If this goes into effect, Americans who suffer from diabetes, stroke, or heart disease could be at risk. These programs also exist to prevent the development of diseases like obesity and diabetes, so the loss of funding would negatively impact the country’s most vulnerable, such as low-income earners, children, and seniors

Although the loss of funding throughout Trump’s budget plan rightly deserves the attention it’s receiving from the media, it’s the administration’s inclusion of tort reforms that may be the final Jenga block pulled to crumble consumers’ health and safety. With cuts to key programs focused on disease prevention and research, there’s a chance the public will face more medical problems than ever before. If these health issues are deemed ones that could have been prevented, the civil justice system has traditionally allowed consumers to file lawsuits against companies responsible for manufacturing the products that made them sick. Examples of high-price tag reparations that have been awarded to individuals because of these lawsuits include those who suffered from talcum powder-induced cancers and those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma.

However, the proposed tort reforms combined with the recent Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act would make it much more difficult for injured plaintiffs to seek the reparations they deserve because the courts would lean in favor of the physician and/or manufacturer being named responsible.

The steep federal budget cuts that the Trump Administration is proposing may look good on paper, especially since it wouldn’t involve any tax increases. But, the proposal highlights a larger issue at stake. When you have a businessman running the show, corporations will thrive while consumers will just barely survive. leave comment here

** Morgan Statt has a background in strategis communication and digital media. She is currently dedicated to writing about consumer rights and health topics. When she isn't conducting investigative researh, you can find her looking for the next wellness trend to try. You can check out her personal blog at Morgan Statt