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The Budget

  • Trump Wants to Overhaul America's Safety Net With Giant Cuts to Housing, Food Stamps,  and  Health Care Washington Post by Tracy Jan, Caitlin Dewey, Amy Goldstein and Jeff Stein — The budget that President Trump proposed Monday takes a hard whack at the poorest Americans, slashing billions of dollars from food stamps, public health insurance and federal housing vouchers, while trying to tilt the programs in more conservative directions. The spending plan reaches beyond the White House's own power over the government social safety net and presumes lawmakers will overhaul long-standing entitlement programs for the poor in ways beyond what Congress so far has been willing to do. The changes call on lawmakers to eliminate the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and transform the rest of that program into a system of capped payments to states; convert food assistance into a hybrid of commodity deliveries and traditional cash benefits; and expand requirements that low-income people work to qualify for federal assistance.

  • Drug Industry Scrambles After Rare Loss in Budget Deal The Hill by Peter Sullivan  —  Pharmaceutical companies are pushing to repeal or roll back a provision in last week's budget deal that delivered a rare loss to their industry, according to two lobbyists familiar with the situation.  A provision included in the budget deal approved last week raised the share of costs that drug companies have to pick up as part of closing the "donut hole," a gap in drug coverage for Medicare Part D beneficiaries.  Drug companies are quickly mobilizing to try and undo the change, or at least roll it back in some fashion. The most likely avenue is the long-term government funding bill that Congress is expected to pass in March, the lobbyists said.  

  • Trump Calls for $18 Billion Cut to HHS Funding  Modern Healthcare by Virgil Dickson —  President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled his $4.4 trillion fiscal 2019 budget proposal that includes sharp cuts for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding. Trump's proposed budget allocates $68.4 billion to HHS, a 21 percent decrease or $17.9 billion less than what the agency received in fiscal 2017. It's unclear if the proposed cuts, or any of the proposals outlined in the budget documents released Monday, will be enacted given that Congress just passed a two-year budget bill. The plan received immediate praise from HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Monday.

  • Budget Undercuts Trump Focus on Mental Health, School Safety  Associated Press by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Danilova —  President Donald Trump is calling for a focus on mental health and school safety in response to shootings like the one that took 17 lives in Florida, but his budget would cut funding in both areas. Trump's latest budget would slash the major source of public funds for mental health treatment, the Medicaid program serving more than 70 million low-income and disabled people. The budget also calls for a 36 percent cut to an Education Department grant program that supports safer schools, reducing it by $25 million from the current level of $67.5 million.

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