Fiscal Year 2018
Federal Advocacy

In March, President Trump released his fiscal year 2018 (FY18) budget blueprint, which outlines the new Administration’s spending priorities. While more details are expected in May, this $1.1 trillion plan includes reductions to research programs, health professions and workforce development program, student aid, and eliminates funding for the arts and humanities and community service programs.  While cuts of this magnitude are of great concern, this is the first step of many in the annual budgeting process. Many of the programs slated for cuts or elimination have broad support in Congress, and we will likely see considerable changes to the President’s proposal.

Our Advocacy Efforts
University leadership and the Office of Government and Community Relations are actively voicing our concerns to our Congressional delegation and are working closely with our associations and the broader research community to urge stable, sustained funding for federal research programs, student aid, and the arts and humanities in FY18.

On this page, you can learn more about the University’s FY18 priorities, as well as the efforts the University has participated in to-date:

Statements on the FY18 Budget
In addition to our direct advocacy, the University and several of our associations have issued statements in response to the FY18 budget blueprint:

University of Rochester Statement on Federal Research Funding
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)
American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)
The Science Coalition (TSC)

Research
Over the last five years, the University of Rochester has received more than $1.7 billion in research funding, 75% of which comes from the federal government. We continue to urge Congress to ensure stable and sustained investment in research, which is critical to fueling the new ideas, technologies, and cures for disease on which our economy, health, and national security depend.

The University of Rochester has joined the following efforts supporting federal investments in scientific research in FY17 and FY18:

    • On April 25, AAU Presidents and Chancellors released a statement urging a reaffirmation of the Government-University research partnership that, thanks in large part to federally-funded scientific research, has fostered unprecedented scientific achievement and economic growth in the United States since WWII.
    • On April 13, Dr. Taubman sent a letter to the Rochester area Congressional delegation expressing deep concern with cuts proposed to federally-funded scientific research in FY18. The letter explained the devastating impact it would have on the University and the nation’s research enterprise, and urged continued support for funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
    • On April 6, AAAS led a letter signed by 286 U.S. business, science and engineering, medical and health, and higher education organizations urging robust investments in scientific R&D in final FY17 spending and rejecting the Administration’s proposed cuts to scientific research in FY18.
    • On March 10, AAU sent a letter on behalf of its 60 U.S. member research universities to the President and Congressional leadership urging that the FY17 and FY18 appropriations processes “revitalize the federal government’s scientific research and higher education investment strategy.”
    • On March 1, NDD (Non-Defense Discretionary) United sent a letter signed by more than 2,000 organizations, including AAU, AAMC, and TSC stressing the consequences of repeated cuts over the last six years and urging Congress and the Administration to protect NDD programs in FY18.
    • On February 7, the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research led a letter signed by 260 patient, medical, scientific, academic, and research organizations to President Trump and Congressional leadership urging completion of an FY17 spending package with at least $34.1 billion for the NIH. 

The American Health Care Act
On May 4, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 217-213 to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) (H.R. 1628), legislation to repeal and replace portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

After failing to amass enough votes to pass the House in March, the legislation was modified to address concerns from conservative and moderate Republicans who did not support the original bill. Most notably, the new version of the legislation allows states to waive certain ACA provisions, including minimum coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions. Three amendments, including a $15 billion risk-sharing program; state waivers of essential health benefits and certain components of community rating; and a last minute amendment which would provide $8 billion from 2018-2023 for states that receive a community rating waiver to reduce premiums and cost-sharing for impacted individuals, were adopted through the vote.

The legislation continues to cap Medicaid funding for states, removes the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, and changes premium support for individual health insurance from an income- to an age-based system. On May 24th, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the bill as passed by House would result in 23 million fewer people covered by 2026, 14 million of which would result from $834 billion in cuts to the Medicaid program over 10 years. In New York, up to 2.7 million individuals could be at risk of losing coverage under the bill, and the state could lose as much as $6.9 billion in federal Medicaid funding.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it faces significant challenges and will likely undergo substantial changes.

Our Advocacy Efforts
Since the AHCA’s introduction, University leadership and the Office of Government and Community Relations have been actively expressing our concerns with the effects various proposals to repeal and replace the ACA, and the AHCA, once introduced, and have been in regular contact with our Congressional delegation regarding the implementation of the ACA.  The University is deeply concerned by the impact the AHCA will have on patient coverage, including deep reductions to New York State’s Medicaid program and providers’ capacity to ensure access to needed services. University and Medical Center leadership will continue to work closely with our Congressional delegation and other state and national partner organizations to urge the Senate to restart and reset the discussion around health care in a manner that extends coverage to those who need it and ensures that the most vulnerable are not left behind.

Statements on the American Health Care Act (AHCA)
The University and several of our associations have issued statements on the AHCA:

UR Medicine Statement on the AHCA
HANYS Statement
AHA Statement 
AAMC Statement
Children’s Hospital Association Statement

Letters
In January, the UR Medicine hospital CEOs sent a letter to our Congressional delegation urging a careful and thoughtful process for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that is comprehensive and simultaneous. Failure to do so would threaten coverage to millions of New Yorkers, destabilize insurance markets, cause a fiscal crisis for the state and localities, and profoundly undermine the ability of providers such as UR Medicine to transform care and provide accessible quality care for all. In March, UR Medicine sent a letter in follow-up stating that after careful evaluation and review of hospital-specific analysis of the AHCA, UR Medicine determined it could not support the AHCA in its current form, and urged the Rochester area Congressional delegation to oppose the bill.

  • On April 21st, HANYS sent a letter to the New York State Congressional Delegation on behalf of its membership, expressing its opposition to the AHCA, citing deep concerns with the bill’s projected impact on coverage, the State of New York’s Medicaid program, and health care providers.
  • On March 20th, the NYS Allied Association, representing HANYS, GNYHA, Suburban Hospital Alliance, Western New York Health Care Association, Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, and the Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates sent a letter to New York State’s Congressional Delegation strongly opposing the AHCA, noting severe harm to insurance coverage, Medicaid program, state budgets, and hospitals and health systems.
  • On March 8th, a coalition of seven associations representing hospitals and health systems, including AHA, AAMC, and CHA, sent a letter to Congress expressing significant concerns with the AHCA and the substantial reduction in affordable coverage for patients that would likely result from its passage
  • In December 2016, the AAMC sent a letter to then-President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence on behalf of the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals to urge the Administration and Congress to adhere to several key elements to reforming the ACA, including pursuing comprehensive reform to ensure a meaningful replacement that maintains affordable coverage; maintaining the Medicaid expansion; and the inclusion of health care stakeholders in development of any reform package.

Higher Education, the Arts and Humanities
At the University of Rochester, 86% of our undergraduates receive financial aid. While we are providing approximately $211 million in institutional aid to our students this year, federal and state student aid programs are also critical to ensuring all students have access to high-quality higher education.

  • On April 12, a group of 26 higher education associations, led by ACE, sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos expressing concern with the recent suspension of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data retrieval tool (DRT) that makes the FAFSA application process quicker and more accurate for students and borrowers.
  • On April 5, the Student Aid Alliance sent a letter signed by 576 institutions, including the University of Rochester, urging Congress to protect the federal student loan program, Pell Grants, SEOG, FWS, TRIO and GEAR UP.
  • On March 31st, Gloria Culver, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Jamal Rossi, Joan and Martin Messinger Dean of the Eastman School of Music, Jonathan Binstock, Mary W. and Donald R. Clark Director of the Memorial Art Gallery, and Mary Ann Mavrinac, Vice Provost and Neilly Dean of University of Rochester Libraries sent a joint letter urging local Members of Congress to reject the proposed elimination of funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute for Museum and Library Services, and continue to ensure stable, sustained funding for these important programs in FY18.

What You Can Do
As these initial budget proposals are further refined in the weeks ahead, there will be an opportunity for faculty and staff to voice their views.  To ensure that we use your advocacy to its greatest impact, we will continue to update you on further developments and timing in future communications.

Please continue to check this page for further updates and information, and feel free to contact the Office of Government and Community Relations.