Robert M. McLean
President Donald J. Trump’s proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year — which would result in reductions of $756 billion in Medicare spending and $920 billion in Medicaid spending over 10 years — was immediately met with criticism from the ACP.
In a statement, ACP President Robert M. McLean, MD, MACP, said the organization is “extremely disappointed” in the budget, because “the drastic cuts to key government health programs would harm the health and health care of Americans.”
The budget would expand Medicare Advantage plans while reducing spending for traditional Medicare and promoting high-deductible plans for seniors, according to the statement.
Information about the budget released by the White House noted that these changes align with the 2019 executive order to expand private insurance plans under Medicare Advantage. The ACP previously expressed concerns about the executive order, stating that efforts to improve Medicare should not favor Medicare Advantage over traditional Medicare.
The reductions in Medicaid spending would be made by limiting patients’ eligibility for coverage, setting work requirements for coverage and offering waivers to states to lower Medicaid spending, according to the statement released by the ACP.
President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year was immediately met with criticism from the ACP.
Russ Vought, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, said in a press briefing that the budget proposes reforms to reduce drug costs and “wasteful and inefficient spending” over the next decade.
“Medicaid had $57 billion in improper payments last year and HHS lacks the tools to recoup most of these,” he said. “This budget would provide such authority, while giving states the option of a block grant or a per capita payment.”
However, the allowance of block grants was also met with criticism — just 2 weeks ago, the ACP opposed CMS’s Healthy Adult Opportunity plan allowing states to apply for block grants for Medicaid because it would increase the number of uninsured people in the U.S.
To cut wasteful spending in health care, the proposed budget would reduce payments to the Graduate Medical Education (GME) program by $50 billion. Vought noted that while the proposed Medicare budget would not include uncompensated care and GME, they would be funded elsewhere, “but with reforms to moderate their growth.”
The budget includes $94.5 billion for HHS, which is a 10% decrease from 2020, according to information released by the White House. Funding would be reduced by $2.6 billion for the NIH and $700 million for the CDC.
The budget also includes major cuts to Title VII health professions funding, including all $49 million for primary care under Section 747 training, which is the only federal program that funds and improves training for PCPs, according to the ACP.
“Budget cuts that harm support for training physicians and other health care professionals would reverberate for years to come,” McLean said in the statement.
“Congress should set aside this flawed plan,” he continued. “Instead, Congress should enact a budget that would support the health and well-being of all Americans.” – by Erin Michael
WhiteHouse.gov. Press Briefing by Acting OMB Director Russ Vought. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/press-briefing-acting-omb-director-russ-vought/. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.
Whitehouse.gov. Protecting our Nation’s Health and Wellness. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FY21-Fact-Sheet-Health.pdf. Accessed Feb. 11, 2020.
Disclosures: McLean is president of the ACP. Vought is acting director of the Office of Management and Budget.