Citing sources familiar with its contents, the Washington Post claims that President Trump’s formal budget proposal will seek $800 billion in Medicaid cuts.
The budget, expected sometime this week, will call for the Medicaid reductions to come over the next 10 years, the Post reported, and could potentially have substantial effects on the skilled nursing industry; Medicaid serves as the largest payer for SNF services.
The Trump administration signaled a desire for major cuts in March when it announced its preliminary budget sketch, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The 53-page document — substantially shorter than previous presidents’ early budget wish lists — presented a stark future for spending in America, with an emphasis on local control over federal oversight, private investment in public programs, and a general aversion to having Uncle Sam shoulder large expenses.
While short on details, Trump asked for a $15.1 billion cut to the Department of Health and Human Services’ budget for fiscal 2018, which begins on October 1 — a 17.9% slash from HHS’ fiscal 2017 funding. The president’s document identified community health centers as one of its “highest priorities,” and took aim at programs it deemed “duplicative” or ineffective, such as nursing training initiatives, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Community Services Block Grant.
However, the document also hinted that the Trump administration would seek to save Medicare and Medicaid dollars by targeting fraud instead of slashing funding, specifically requesting an additional $70 million in discretionary dollars for the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control program.
“Additional funding for the HCFAC program has allowed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in recent years to shift away from a ‘pay-and-chase’ model toward identifying and preventing fraudulent or improper payments from being paid in the first place,” the document claimed.
As the CNN pointed out, Trump’s desire to bleed $800 billion from Medicaid hinges on the eventual enshrinement of the American Health Care Act into law — a tall order, as the controversial bill must still pass a potentially reluctant Senate before it could reach the president’s desk for signature.
Written by Alex Spanko