How the proposed White House budget could affect healthcare February 28, 2018
Every year, the White House submits a budget outlining the president’s priorities for the coming year. Although the White House budget generally has no impact on the actual budget passed by Congress, it does give a glimpse into the vision of President Trump in regard to major national undertakings such as military spending, domestic programs, and healthcare.
According to the New York Times, the White House budget “request would add $984 billion to the federal deficit next year, despite proposed cuts to programs like Medicare ….” The Times adds that the proposed budget “contains at least $1.8 trillion in cuts to federal entitlement programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and food stamps.”
An article in VoxCare states that specific changes to Medicare and Medicaid would include:
- Denying Medicaid benefits to people who cannot prove their immigration status
- Increasing Medicaid beneficiaries’ copayments for improper use of the emergency room
- Allowing asset testing, which adds up all the value of a person’s property and belongings, in addition to income as a test of Medicaid eligibility
- Creating an out-of-pocket maximum for drug expenses for Medicare recipients
- Allowing more flexibility for Medicare Part D plans to set their formularies, giving them more negotiating leverage.
As to the growing opioid crisis and the ability of the healthcare field to respond appropriately with adequate funding, the White House budget submitted by President Trump “provides $10 billion for vaguely defined efforts to prevent opioid abuse and expand treatment,” according to VoxCare. However, experts say much more is needed, as the opioid crisis currently costs “the entire country $80 billion in a single year.”
The White House budget also proposes eliminating the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as some healthcare workforce programs designed to train medical students.