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Trump’s Budget Plan Slashes Medicaid Funding by More Than $800 Billion Over 10 years

States would gain power to limit benefits

President Donald Trump’s first major budget proposal, scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, will include massive cuts to Medicaid and will give states new power to limit a range of benefits despite growing unease in Congress, according to an article in the Washington Post.

For Medicaid, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could eliminate Medicaid benefits for approximately 10 million low-income people during the next decade.

The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in antipoverty programs.

Numerous social-welfare programs grew after the financial crisis, leading to complaints from many Republicans that more should be done to shift people out of those programs and back into the workforce, according to the Post article. Shortly after he was sworn in, President Trump said, “We want to get our people off welfare and back to work. … It’s out of control.”

Trump’s decision to include the Medicaid cuts in his budget proposal is significant, the Post says, because it indicates that he is prepared to reject calls from several Senate Republicans not to reverse the expansion of Medicaid that occurred under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The House has voted to cut the Medicaid funding, but Senate Republicans have signaled that they are likely to start from scratch on a revised bill.

Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, a conservative think tank, said that giving states the flexibility to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients could lead to similar changes to other programs, ranging from Medicaid to public housing assistance.

“One of the encouraging things about putting this in the budget is that states will see if it works,” he said. “States will try it.”

Source: The Washington Post; May 21, 2017.

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