Healthcare cuts to come in 2020 U.S. budget

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President Donald Trump on March 7 released a budget for 2020 that includes cuts to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as well as repeal-and-replace measures for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010.

The HHS will receive $87.1 billion, a 12% decrease from 2019. The budget also supports Medicaid reform in the 2017 Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson legislation that would give states more power to institute healthcare programs.

In addition, the document sets forth a number of changes for Medicaid, including work requirements mandating that able-bodied, working-age people work or volunteer to remain in the program and shifting Medicaid to a block grant program under which states would get a lump sum of funding to use at their discretion.

It also calls for the following:

  • A prior authorization program for high-use practitioners of radiation therapy, therapy services, advanced imaging, and anatomic pathology services
  • Funding to fight the opioid epidemic, including $1.5 billion in state grants
  • An out-of-pocket spending cap on prescription drugs for Medicare beneficiaries
  • $291 million to abolish the transmission of HIV within 10 years
  • Cutting medical research spending from 2019's $39 billion to $33 billion
  • Allowing healthcare workers to opt out of providing abortions

The budget makes "necessary investments and bold reforms," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

"The budget will advance HHS' work on increasing the affordability of individual health insurance, bringing down the price of prescription drugs, transforming our healthcare system into one that pays for value, and combating the opioid crisis," he said.

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