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U.S. Global Health Policy One Year In to the Trump Administration

A new Kaiser Family Foundation issue brief assessing global health policy one year after President Trump took office finds half of Americans (54%) say they want the U.S. to play a major or leading role in improving health for people in developing countries, though support for such engagement is strongest among Democrats (73%) and lower among independents (47%) and Republicans (49%). The brief identifies a mix of challenges to U.S. global health policy, some of which pre-dated President Trump and some of which are the result of decisions and actions of the Administration.

Overall public support fell slightly from the last time the Foundation polled on this issue in 2016, when 61 percent said they think the U.S. should take a leading or major role.

Most of the public (59%) believes the U.S. is spending the right amount or too little on global health programs, but one-third (33%) believe the U.S. is spending too much – a significant increase from the 18 percent saying the U.S. was spending too much in 2016. Fifty-three percent say the Trump Administration has made global health a lower priority than previous administrations.

Against this backdrop of broad public support, the Trump Administration has instituted a number of notable changes in broader U.S. foreign policy that emphasize U.S. interests and affect global health, and in the area of global health specifically, proposed steep budget cuts and implemented policy changes, including the reinstatement and expansion of the Mexico City Policy. However, U.S. global health funding has so far been buoyed by strong bipartisan support from Congress and key stakeholders.

Looking ahead, the U.S. global health policy issues to watch for in 2018 and beyond include the soon-to-be released White House budget request for FY 2019, amidst ongoing budget pressures and concerns about the U.S. deficit; continuing implementation of the Mexico City Policy; decisions around the next phase of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief; and the future of the Global Health Security Agenda, among others.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.