Azar Will Have To Defend Trump’s Devastating Budget Cuts And His Fight To Repeal the ACA

While Secretary Azar testifies before Congress today, here’s a look at some of the many devastating cuts in Trump’s budget proposal that he will have to defend:


Trump’s budget would slash HHS funding by 12 percent.


Modern Healthcare: “The White House on Monday proposed cutting HHS funding by 12% in fiscal 2020, as well as slashing Medicaid spending and allowing states to lower benefits.”


Trump’s budget reignites his fight to repeal the ACA, and doubles down on his attacks on pre-existing condition protections.


Associated Press: “President Donald Trump’s budget would re-open two health care battles he already lost in his first year in office: repealing ‘Obamacare’ and limiting future federal spending on Medicaid for low-income people.”


Vox: “Repealing Obamacare and replacing it with Graham-Cassidy. … As I’ve written previously, this plan would allow insurers to discriminate against those with preexisting conditions and significantly cut insurance subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans.”


Trump’s budget continues his efforts to sabotage the ACA and would increase out-of-pocket costs for many Americans.


Modern Healthcare: “The budget calls for outlawing plans on the exchanges where the customer does not have to pay any premium, a veiled reference to ‘silver loading.’ … The federal government used to reimburse insurers, but President Trump cut off the payments in October 2017.”


Vox: “In many parts of the country, low-income Americans qualify for ‘zero premium’ insurance plans: health coverage where the entire premium would be covered by their government tax credit. The Trump administration wants to put an end to that. In order to ‘increase consumer engagement,’ the White House proposes that ‘all subsidized individuals that purchase health coverage on the Federal Exchange to contribute something to their healthcare coverage.’”


Despite his repeated promises to protect Medicare, Trump’s budget would cut $845 billion from the program.


Washington Post: “Trump’s ‘Budget for a Better America’ also includes dozens of spending cuts and policy overhauls that frame the early stages of the debate for the 2020 election. For example, Trump for the first time calls for cutting $845 billion from Medicare, the popular health care program for the elderly that in the past he had largely said he would protect.”


Trump’s budget would cut overall Medicaid spending, eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion, and further restrict access to the program.


Washington Post: “The spending plan calls for a cut of nearly $1.5 trillion in Medicaid over 10 years and for $1.2 trillion to be added for a new ‘Market Based Health Care Grant’ — that is, the block grants that would start in 2021. It also would eliminate funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has gone to about three dozen states over the past five years.”


New York Times: “Mr. Trump also proposes new work requirements for working-age adult recipients of food stamps, federal housing support and Medicaid, a move the administration said would reduce spending on those programs by $327 billion over a decade.”


Trump wants to cut the National Institutes of Health’s budget by $4.5 billion, with the National Cancer Institute absorbing the biggest hit.


Washington Post: “Efforts the president and HHS Secretary Alex Azar advocate to curb the rising price of prescription drugs are part of the budget, as well. But spending on the National Institutes of Health, a longtime favorite of lawmakers of both parties, would be reduced by $4.5 billion, with the National Cancer Institute proposed to absorb the largest chunk of that cut.”


Though he pledged to end the transmission of HIV, Trump’s budget slashes funding for international efforts to fight AIDS.


Associated Press: “The budget calls for a 22 percent cut to PEPFAR, the U.S. program that has helped treat millions internationally, mostly in Africa, according to The ONE Campaign.”


Associated Press: “Trump is also proposing to change the financing formula another program, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, so that the U.S. contribution is watered down. The budget calls for $1.1 billion for the Global Fund, down from $1.35 billion, the current level as reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.”