Trump budget chief: Medicaid cuts won’t affect anyone now on program

Trump budget chief: Medicaid cuts won’t affect anyone now on program
© Greg Nash

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney on Thursday testified that the Trump administration does not believe $1.4 trillion worth of cuts it is proposing for Medicaid would affect children, the disabled or the elderly.

Under questioning from Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingGreen New Deal vote tests Dem unity in Senate Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding MORE (I-Maine) at a Senate Budget Committee hearing, Mulvaney argued that the cuts would simply slow the growth of Medicaid spending, not cut the program.

King asked how the cuts would account for rising healthcare costs. If the cost of a nursing home bed rises 6 percent, but Medicaid only rises 2 percent, there would be a shortfall, King said. 

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“So is it your testimony that these changes in the rate of reimbursement rates for Medicaid will have no effect on elderly, children, disabled people who are now beneficiaries?”

“We believe that to be the case,” Mulvaney said. 

The president’s budget slashes Medicaid in two places, with over $800 billion in cuts as part of the American Health Care Act and an additional cut of over $600 billion, both relative to current law over the course of a decade.  

Mulvaney has provided contradictory answers on the total costs, saying at times that figure was accurate and at other times arguing that the $600 billion and $800 billion overlap, and that the final number would be lower.

He has argued repeatedly that the cuts to anti-poverty and health programs would only introduce efficiencies into the system, while continue providing service to those in need.