Healthcare groups blast 'devastating' cuts in Trump 2020 budget plan

President Donald Trump's fiscal year 2020 budget request has sparked concern among some healthcare groups.

Four reactions:

1. Association of American Medical Colleges President and CEO Darrell G. Kirch, MD, spoke out against proposed cuts to National Institutes of Health-funded research, as well as Mr. Trump's plan to use block grants and consolidate funding for graduate medical education.

The $5 billion in cuts proposed to NIH-funded research would "thwart progress and hope for patients nationwide," Dr. Kirch said.

A new funding approach "would exacerbate the projected physician shortage by forcing teaching hospitals to absorb nearly $48 billion in untenable cuts and make difficult choices between training more physicians to serve a growing, aging population or maintaining lifesaving clinical services for their communities."

2. American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack expressed concerns about proposed cuts to hospital and health system services for seniors under Medicare and Medicaid. This includes cuts to Medicare for care in hospital outpatient departments, as well as cuts to Medicaid by redesigning the program through block grants or per capita caps.

"Patients should be confident in knowing that their hospital is their lifeline to access care in their community," Mr. Pollack said. "The cuts propose raise serious concerns about how hospitals and health systems can ensure they serve as the safety net for their patients."

3. Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn also spoke out against proposed Medicare cuts to hospitals.

"The new White House budget imposes arbitrary and blunt Medicare cuts to hospitals who care for the nation's most vulnerable. The impact on care for seniors would be devastating. Not to mention that massive reductions would drastically reduce resources critical to care for low-income Americans and cripple efforts to stave off the looming physician shortage," he said.

"Hospitals are less and less able to cover the cost of care for Medicare patients, it is no time to gut Medicare," said Mr. Kahn.

4. Health Global Access Project, a nonprofit organization focused on access to lifesaving treatment for people with HIV, opposes the proposal to cut $1.35 billion from the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and $392 million from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, compared with enacted fiscal year 2019 levels. 

"This budget is antithetical to ending the AIDS pandemic," the organization said. "At the level of cuts proposed, PEPFAR and the Global Fund would interrupt the provision of lifesaving treatment for people living with HIV and scale back essential HIV prevention programs."


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