Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump released his 2019 budget vision today, and as you might expect it proposes some deep cuts to domestic programs while ratcheting up military spending and allocating $18 billion over the next two fiscal years for The Wall, while adding $984 billion to the federal deficit next year.

There’s a lot to take in, but one part that stuck out to me about the proposal, titled “Efficient, Effective, Accountable: An American Budget,” is the call for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. It also proposes cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $214 billion over 10 years.

During the election, Trump repeatedly said he wouldn’t touch the big three publicly funded programs, tweeting a bunch of times, and saying it in speeches. And for good reason: Medicare is popular, and as medical costs continue to balloon, it will only be more so. In fact, “Medicare for All,” a dream of the left, is itself picking up popularity.

At this point, it’s hard to be surprised by anything Trump does or says. But his new budget calls for steep cuts to Medicare spending—$554 billion over 10 years—in part to offset the $1.4 trillion in tax cuts he and the GOP gave away largely to corporations and the rich this year. The proposal says it would do this “without harming beneficiaries’ access to care or altering covered items and services,” but instead by eliminating federal waste, and by changing what is known as the “doughnut hole” in prescription drug plans. “Far fewer people would reach the catastrophic phase, where they pay 5 percent of the drug cost—and where Medicare is on the hook for 80 percent,” reports The Washington Post.

It’s true that this budget plan has little chance of coming to fruition (Congress will make the final spending decisions, in part based on the budget outline passed last week and signed by Trump), and that the president proposed similar cuts in last year’s budget, but it does make clear the president’s priorities, which, if it wasn’t obvious yet, have not been to help struggling Americans.


Article preview thumbnail
What You Need to Know About the Budget Deal

Congress managed to pass a budget deal early Friday morning after a brief government shutdown,…

Read more Read

The budget calls for a “market-based health-care grant” that would pay for programs “in addition to the traditional Medicaid program, a change that would lower Medicaid spending by about $250 billion over 10 years,” WaPo reports, and again calls for the repeal and replace of the ACA, which expanded health insurance coverage to 20 million more Americans, about 14.5 million of whom gained coverage via the Medicaid expansion or through the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

The budget bases this on the supposed failure of the law: “For 2018, approximately 30 percent of enrollees only had choices from a single insurer. The Exchanges have not done enough to attract healthier individuals and families that want affordable options that meet their needs.”

There is much to be said about fixing the ACA, but using increased premiums and fewer options as the justification for scraping the law is questionable. The Trump administration has done everything it can to hinder the ACA’s implementation and efficacy, including running negative ads about it, cutting spending on advertisements for open enrollment, and forcing through a repeal process in 2017 that left millions unsure whether they’d have health care in the new year. Insurers, the Congressional Budget Office and independent analyses said that the uncertainty surrounding the law, created by the administration’s actions, were to blame for the jump in prices and lower competition.

So it’s not surprising that premiums were up (though the budget, oddly, does not explain that subsidies—which around 85 percent of Obamacare enrollees qualify for—would offset those increases). What is surprising is that it wasn’t worse.

Here’s the budget in full.



Source link

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY