Trump Backs Senate Conservatives In Gutting Medicaid

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Robert Donachie Capitol Hill and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump is scheduled to release his first budget proposal Tuesday, which will reportedly include large cuts to the federally-backed health insurance program Medicaid. The move would align the president with conservative Republicans in the House and Senate.

Trump’s budget proposal is expected to follow the House Republicans plan, which calls for an $800 billion cut to Medicaid over the next decade, The Washington Post reports.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) originally projected in early March that some 24 million Americans would lose health insurance if lawmakers passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). One of the largest portions of the loss would stem from Medicaid recipients. The CBO estimated that AHCA would cut $839 billion from Medicaid over the next decade.

In line with Rep. Tom MacArthur of New Jersey’s amendment to AHCA, the president wants to give states greater autonomy in choosing to impose work and other requirements to social welfare programs, like Medicaid. The MacArthur amendment allows states to opt out of certain provisions of Obamacare through waivers.

Critics of the House bill argue that if states were able to obtain a waiver, millions of Americans who get health insurance through Medicaid, especially those who obtained it through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion program, would lose coverage. While there is some truth to the claim, the process to acquire a waiver includes a series of steps and scrutiny from government offices.

For the president to include steep cuts to Medicaid is significant. The move would position him against a number of moderate Republican senators who are voicing concerns about rolling back funding for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion. (RELATED: GOP Senators Can’t Agree On Medicaid Reform)

Around 20 Republican senators are in states that chose to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and many are concerned about the number of Medicaid recipients who would lose coverage under AHCA.

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