On February 12, President Trump released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2019, which would slash benefits for the elderly and disabled. A statement from the Medicare Rights Center reads: “This 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.”
Trump’s proposed budget would cut more than $490 billion from Medicare over the next 10 years.
Major items in Trump’s budget
In addition, Trump’s proposed budget would:
- Slash Medicaid by more than $1.4 trillion over the next decade.
- Eliminate cost-sharing for seniors with high prescription drug costs, but increase out-of-pocket expenses for others who haven’t yet reached catastrophic coverage.
- Expand prior authorization in traditional Medicare.
- Eliminate SHIP programs, which provide free, one-on-one counseling to Medicare beneficiaries, with over 3,000 state and local offices and over 15,000 counselors.
- Repeal Affordable Care Act, which would end health coverage for millions.
- Abolish block grants to cities and states to support social service programs in their communities.
- Cut $72 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
- Eliminate the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), a training and job placement program for older adults.
- Cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Food Stamps, by $213 billion over 10 years. Add prepared meals as a part of the benefit instead of vouchers.
- Freeze most funding in the Older Americans Act.
Budget goes against promises
Trump’s budget goes starkly against his campaign promises not to cut Medicare. The budget plan is not a law, and probably won’t become law. However it does reveal the administration’s priorities and values. It serves as a map for future rulemaking and legislation. It can be disheartening to read a budget like this, which makes it hard to be hopeful for the future of Medicare.
Legislation for fiscal year 2019 won’t be expected from Congress for a few more months. Stay tuned to medicareworld.com/news for updates.