BREAKING NEWS: Trump Administration Proposed FY 2021 Budget Envisions Major Medicaid and Other Cuts

Feb. 11, 2020
The budget proposal released on Monday by the Trump administration proposes major cuts to safety-net programs, including a proposed $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade

The Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal released on Monday by the Trump administration proposes major cuts to safety-net programs, especially, in regard to healthcare, in Medicaid, with $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over the next decade, as well as the elimination of the Medicaid expansion authorized under the Affordable Care Act.

As the New York Times’ Jim Tankersley, Margot Sanger-Katz, Alan Rappeport, and Emily Cochrane   wrote in a report on Monday evening, “President Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday that includes a familiar list of deep cuts to student loan assistance, affordable housing efforts, food stamps and Medicaid, reflecting Mr. Trump’s election-year effort to continue shrinking the federal safety net. The proposal, which is unlikely to be approved in its entirety by Congress, includes additional spending for the military, national defense and border enforcement, along with money for veterans, Mr. Trump’s Space Force initiative and an extension of the individual income tax cuts that were set to expire in 2025. Its biggest reduction is an annual 2 percent decrease in spending on discretionary domestic programs, like education and environmental protection.”

The Washington Post also produced a report on the budget proposal on Monday evening. In that report, Jeff Stein and Erica Werner wrote, “The budget would pursue hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid and also seek reductions in the Children’s Health Insurance Program, while wringing some savings from Medicare despite Trump’s repeated promises to safeguard the program for older Americans. The budget is a proposal to Congress, and lawmakers have mostly rejected the White House’s proposed cuts in the past. Still, the budget plan sets up the Trump administration’s policy priorities heading into the November election and is likely to draw scrutiny in Washington and on the campaign trail. Trump has in the past not shown much interest in pursuing the budget cuts his aides have offered, and he didn’t make any public comments about the plan Monday. Instead, one of his top advisers defended the proposed cuts, even as Democratic presidential candidates blasted the reductions.”

Stein and Werner quoted Russell Vought, acting White House budget director, as touting the proposed spending increases in the budget for NASA, immigration, opioid mitigation and veterans, while saying they would not lead to benefit reductions for Medicare and Medicaid, as Democrats charged. Vought also said the budget includes widespread cuts in federal waste that would bring down the deficit.

“We stand with families and businesses across the country who have to balance their budgets,” Vought told reporters. “Washington, D.C., does not stand with them, and for too long has operated under a different principle of recklessly spending other people’s money. That has to change, and hopefully this budget will lead to it.”

Vox’s Tara Golshan summarized the cuts, writing that, “If Trump’s budget were to be enacted, some of the biggest policy changes would include:

Ø  $1.5 trillion in cuts to Medicaid over 10 years, implementing work requirements as well as eliminating the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The budget instead adds $1.2 trillion for a “Market Based Health Care Grant” — block grant to states, instead of paying by need. It’s not clear whether that would be part of Medicaid.

Ø  An $845 billion cut to Medicare over 10 years, about a 10 percent cut, to be achieved through targeting wasteful spending and provider payments and lowering prescription drug costs.

Ø  $25 billion in cuts to Social Security over 10 years, including cuts to disability insurance.”

Meanwhile, The Hill’s Peter Sullivan wrote on Monday evening that “President Trump’s proposed budget includes about $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act over a decade, analysts said. The budget released Monday includes $844 billion over 10 years in cuts from the ‘President’s health reform vision,’ a stand-in for the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. There are also more than $150 billion in additional cuts from implementing Medicaid work requirements and other changes to the program, which would result in some people losing coverage if they did not meet the requirements,” Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan went on to write that “The cuts drew swift condemnation from Democrats, who pointed out that Trump himself promised not to cut Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor, during his 2016 campaign.” He quoted something that Trump had said in 2015, when he had declared, “I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid. Every other Republican is going to cut it.”

And he quoted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who released a statement saying that “Americans’ quality, affordable health care will never be safe with President Trump.”

Sullivan further wrote that “A senior administration official defended the Medicaid cuts, arguing reforms will help preserve the program for people who need it most. ‘The Budget protects and preserves Medicaid by putting it on a sustainable path, so it can continue to provide vital services to those who need it the most, including children, the disabled, elderly and pregnant women,’ the official said. In contrast to previous years, the budget does not spell out how Trump proposes to repeal and replace ObamaCare,” Sullivan noted. “Instead, the budget gives a savings number of $844 billion that could come from any number of possible changes to Medicaid or the health law’s exchanges and subsidies.  One policy that is specified is that the budget calls for ending the additional federal funding that helped states expand Medicaid to cover more people under the Affordable Care Act, with officials arguing states can step up their spending if they want to expand the program.”