The Trump administration today released a federal budget proposal that would cut more than a trillion dollars over 10 years from Medicaid, the nation’s largest source of health care coverage, which provides a lifeline for children and adults with disabilities and low-income seniors. Under the president’s proposal, Medicaid would face a $600 billion decrease. That’s in addition to the more than $800 billion cut in the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed this month by the House of Representatives.
The budget, released while President Trump was in the Middle East on his first foreign trip as president, also would shrink funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Social Security disability, environmental protection, and housing and transportation assistance.
At the urging of the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, the budget proposes spending $25 billion over the next 10 years on paid parental leave, a new initiative.
Members of both parties in the House and the Senate have strongly opposed trimming Medicaid in the past.
Many of the other cuts also face strong bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill. For example, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, has sharply criticized the cuts earmarked for the NIH and CDC.
White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney reiterated the administration’s view that the AHCA does not go far enough on Medicaid. “We go another half a step further and ratchet down some of the growth rates that are assumed into AHCA,” he said in a call with reporters on Monday.
During today’s press briefing, Mulvaney said that “we’re no longer going to measure compassion by the number of programs or the number of people on those programs, but by the number of people we help get off of those programs.”
AARP staked out a strong position against the president’s budget.
AARP “opposes the budget proposed today because it explicitly harms the very people we are counting on the President to protect,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond in a statement. “Today’s budget proposes to cut Social Security benefits, as well as funding for critical health, hunger, housing and transportation assistance to low and middle income seniors. The budget sends a powerful message to older Americans and their families that their health and financial security is at risk.”
AARP sounded a positive note on the administration’s parental leave initiative. “We do want to acknowledge the Administration’s paid leave proposal,” LeaMond said. “Although it must be improved so that it addresses the workplace needs of family caregivers, we hope that it leads to a national conversation about ways to support family caregivers in the workplace.”
The budget assumes economic growth reaching 3 percent a year by 2021, a figure widely seen as unrealistic.
The budget also includes a dramatic decrease in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps. “If you are on food stamps, we need you to go to work,” said Mulvaney. “If you are on disability and should not be, we need you to go back to work.”
The president’s budget is the first step in a lengthy process. Congress will set its own priorities as it develops its own budget resolution.
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