Washington, DC ─ The President’s annual budget request is a statement of values. It is incredibly troubling then, that President Trump’s budget blueprint for FY 2020, submitted this week, again prioritizes deep cuts to programs on which older adults and people with disabilities rely, including Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.
The President’s FY 2020 budget includes harmful policy and payment changes that would impose barriers to care for people with Medicare. Among other things, the administration’s proposal would curtail Medicare beneficiaries’ appeal rights and increase the amount many would pay for needed prescriptions. It would also jeopardize beneficiary access to critical services by significantly cutting provider payments and greatly expanding prior authorization in traditional Medicare in a manner that could incentivize health care providers to stint on care for those with ongoing, chronic conditions.
The budget would be particularly devastating for people with Medicare who also rely on Medicaid, as it would cut the program by over $1.4 trillion in the next decade, transform it into a block grant or per-capita cap system, and end Medicaid expansion. Gutting Medicaid would lead to the rationing of care and could force many low-income seniors and people with disabilities out of their homes and into more costly institutional settings. In addition, the proposed policies would endanger Medicaid coverage for struggling families by imposing punitive coverage restrictions and administrative barriers such as work requirements and asset tests.
Further, the budget renews the administration’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something similar to the failed 2017 Graham-Cassidy plan. That approach was widely reviled by the American people, in large part because it would have ended health coverage for millions and restricted access for millions more. Whether in the President’s budget or a stand-alone bill, any plan that would reduce coverage, weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions, or make devastating cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act was, and always will be, unacceptable.
Similar to last year’s request, the President’s FY 2020 budget is full of damaging policies that would make it harder for older adults, people with disabilities, and working families to meet their basic needs. We urge Congress and the administration to reject this flawed budget, and to instead pursue bipartisan solutions that prioritize the health and well-being of all Americans.