Biden Knocks Trump On Medicare Cuts, Forgets He Proposed The Same

Grant Boone
March 14, 2019

Senate Democrats reiterated their objections to the cuts the White House proposed this week to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security during a budget committee hearing Wednesday. [They] gave millionaires and billionaires excessive tax breaks, and who are they asking to pay for it?

"There's going to be a lot of things that even Republicans disagree with within the budget", he said. "How is that going to help this country?" In fact, his first budget barely touched the program at all.

Trump's proposal, known as "Budget for a Better America", comprises a number of domestic spending cuts, including an 845-million-U.S. -dollar cut for Medicare, a health care program for the elderly.

Among the budget's targets are federal payments to reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care, fees for services provided in outpatient departments, and federal financing for graduate medical education.

Russ Vought, acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, said in a statement the proposal "embodies fiscal responsibility" and "shows that we can return to fiscal sanity without halting our economic resurgence". Nevertheless, the budget also includes an additional $8.6 billion to construct walls right along the Mexican border. It's common for administrations of both political parties to call for cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals. "I remember the president said he would not cut healthcare programs, but he is proposing to do that with this budget".

Medicare now pays hospital outpatient departments more than doctors' offices for certain services. By strengthening work requirements, the administration wants to end people's dependency on government benefits.

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"The proposals generally target hospitals and other health care providers", Neuman said.

Democrats have wasted no time highlighting these cuts, with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland accusing the President of abandoning senior citizens.

As a candidate early in the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump held himself out as a different kind of Republican.

The proposed Medicare package also would require lawmakers to sign off. His administration, in fact, promotes Medicare Advantage, but there is also less evidence these days of significant federal overpayments in the program, Neuman said. The plan that drew the most heat was the president's desire to replace the current open-ended federal commitment to Medicaid with a lump sum of federal money for each state in the form of a block grant, a measure that would essentially cap payments and would not keep pace with rising health care costs.

Plus, it would limit federal support for the traditional Medicaid program by providing states either a block grant or a set amount for each participant.

The White House's plan stipulates all "able-bodied" and "working-age" Medicaid beneficiaries would have to go to work, train for work or volunteer to quality for Medicaid. The Trump administration is promoting work mandates and has approved requests from eight states to add it to their programs.

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