The Trump transitionteam updated its websiteafter the election toinclude a new proposalto "modernize Medicare,so that it will be ready forthe challenges with thecoming retirement of theBaby Boom generation—and beyond."
A Senate subcommittee rejected President Donald Trump's request to slash $15 billion in discretionary funds for HHS for the next fiscal year.
The Senate Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies released a summary of a forthcoming appropriations bill expected to be released in full Thursday.
In the summary, the Appropriations Committee's subcommittee recommends HHS receive $79.4 billion in discretionary funding in fiscal 2018, up $1.7 billion from what it received this fiscal year.
The president's 2018 budget proposal provided HHS with $69 billion in discretionary funding, a $15.1 billion or 17.9% decrease from fiscal 2017.
The bill makes no reference to the budget proposal's series of Medicaid cuts and restructurings for the program. Trump's fiscal 2018 proposed budget suggested the program transition from a federal match program to a block grant or per capita cap program, which was estimated to cut $610 billion from the program by 2028.
An aide on Capitol Hill told reporters that Trump's Medicaid proposal was outside the Appropriations subcommittee's jurisdiction and that such a policy would have to originate from the Senate Finance Committee. That committee has announced no plans to alter Medicaid from its current form.
The Senate Appropriations subcommittee made its move partially to shield the National Institutes of Health from a budget reduction. Trump had sought a $5.8 billion cut to the agency. The subcommittee suggested a $2 billion increase instead, bringing NIH's total budget to $36 billion.
"Without continued investment in the NIH, we jeopardize our current scientific progress, risk losing a generation of scientists and stunt our nation's global competiveness," Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said at a hearing Wednesday.
The bill includes $816 million to address the opioid crisis. This amount is 14 times more funding than the fiscal 2016 budget, according to Blunt.
In terms of the Affordable Care Act, the pending legislation suggests no new funding from the program.
The announcement comes just days after the CMS said it will spend $10 million on marketing and outreach for the 2018 Affordable Care Act open-enrollment period beginning Nov. 1—a fraction of the $100 million that the Obama administration budgeted last year.
The appropriations bill also seeks to cease funding for the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was created by the health law to rein in Medicare spending in the event that the trust fund was on the verge of running out of money.
"IPAB is a 15-member board of unelected bureaucrats created by the ACA to achieve a reduction in Medicare spending through the only means it has—rationing care," the bill summary said. For now, Medicare is expected to remain solvent through 2029.
In terms of Medicare, the subcommittee suggested the program's Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals should receive a $117.2 million budget, or a $10 million increase above fiscal 2017. The number of cases appealed to the office has increased 1,000% over the past six years. The current backlog is more than 600,000 cases.
The subcommittee voted unanimously to send the bill without amendments to the full Appropriations Committee, which will have a markup hearing Thursday.