Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Trump hands Congress 'record' budget plan

Trump hands Congress 'record' budget plan

President Donald Trump unveiled his third budget resolution on March 11, titled "A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept".

If President Trump allows states to convert Medicaid into a block grant with a limit on health care spending for low-income people, he will face a firestorm of opposition in Congress, House Democrats told the nation's top health official on Tuesday.

The reductions are baked-in expectations of Medicare-payment savings based on reduced payments to hospitals and in expected reductions for the price of prescription drugs.

But the head of a major hospital association was pushing back, saying in a blog that "arbitrary and blunt" Medicare cuts would have a "devastating" impact on care for seniors.

"Hospitals are less and less able to cover the cost of care for Medicare patients; it is no time to gut Medicare", says Chip Kahn of the Federation of American Hospitals.

Vought told the committee that the president's budget plan would save $517 billion in spending over 10 years in Medicare, a program that many Democrats want to expand. Because of a tax cut for the super-wealthy that created a deficit of $1.9 trillion, and now they've got to go make somebody pay for it. Indeed, it would have capped federal spending on the entire program. The Democrats both in the White House and Senate said that the budget is dead since it arrived.

The wide-ranging proposal, which revives the president's push to build a U.S. -Mexico border wall, seeks to increase defense spending to $750 billion - including a new Space Force in the military branch - and to reduce non-defense accounts by 5 percent, according to the Associated Press.

8 killed in mass shooting at southern Brazil school
Two gunmen have opened fire at a school in south-eastern Brazil, killing at least six students and two employees, officials say. At least 17 other people, mostly children, were also shot and taken to hospitals, in which several are in serious condition.

"These cuts in the Trump budget aren't a tightening of the belt or a trimming of the fat, or even a serious attempt at reining in spending", House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said during the hearing.

However, Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, said "neither Republicans nor Democrats seem to be concerned about debt and deficits, as the president's plan also pushes balanced budgets further into the future". That includes shifting roughly $269 billion in funding for training medical residents and payments to hospitals for caring for the uninsured to the Department of Health and Human Services' budget.

Republican strategist David Kochel, a 2016 adviser to Jeb Bush, said there was little evidence that Trump's voters would abandon him over the Medicare proposal.

A statement from AARP reflected a mix of praise and concern.

As part of the spending-cut initiative, the administration also has identified a number of wasteful and ineffective programs, such as Job Corps.

The budget proposal "practices the Robin Hood principle in reverse", said Senator Bernie Sanders, budget panel member and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate. Seniors with very high costs would benefit from a proposed cap on their copays, but others may actually wind up having to pay more.

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