President Donald Trump unveiled his Fiscal Year 2020 budge proposal on March 11, and among the trillions covered in various line items and proposals is $20 million that would back a pediatric health care initiative championed by Jack Nicklaus.
A single line in the 162-page document outlining Trump’s budget proposal for the Department of Health and Human Services — which is really a statement of political priorities more than a household budget of sorts — mentions giving $20 million to the National Disaster Medical System, per Politico.
“The $20 million increase will continue support for the pediatric disaster care pilot initiative which aims to improve pediatric care during emergencies,” the proposal reads.
Politico reports that language is specifically meant to carve out the money for specialized mobile hospitals for children. Nicklaus, whose name is on the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in the Miami area, had personally lobbied the president, HHS secretary Alex Azar and then-Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney for the funding. Trump personally directed Azar to earmark the funds for the Nicklaus-backed effort.
Mobile hospitals are a key piece of pop-up infrastructure following natural disasters and tragedies. However, mobile hospitals specific to pediatric medicine are not common right now. Nicklaus, who has also lobbied for similar funding in the Florida state government, believes such specialized treatment could be particularly helpful for psychological counseling in the wake of trauma.
Nicklaus, who is active in Republican politics in Florida and at the national level, has played golf with Trump various times since Trump took office in 2016, including on Feb. 2, 2019 with Tiger Woods. The pair have a long-standing relationship.
The Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation is the primary philanthropic beneficiary of the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic.