Trump’s budget cuts to Medicaid undercut military veterans

Posted Friday, 21 February 2020 ‐ Las Vegas Sun

President Donald Trump’s attacks on marginalized communities just keep coming. His 2021 budget blueprint reprises the same harmful proposals we’ve seen in previous budgets, doubling down on policies that cut health care and services for the people who need them most, including low-wage workers, people with disabilities and veterans. Although Trump has repeatedly claimed that access to affordable, quality health care has improved under his leadership, the reality is that premiums have soared and the number of uninsured people has risen. As an Army veteran, I think about how the communities I represent will be affected by the president’s proposed budget cuts to Medicaid. Contrary to popular belief, not all veterans can receive services through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Approximately 1.75 million veterans rely on Medicaid, which ensures that they receive both the primary and specialty health care services that they both need and deserve. Trump’s lack of respect for troops has been evident throughout his entire tenure as president, but intentionally stripping away vital health care services that veterans and military families need shows that his patriotism for his country is nothing more than a facade. Medicaid is an essential resource for working families. People insured through Medicaid have health outcomes virtually indistinguishable from those with private insurance. But Medicaid is far more cost effective because there are fewer profit margins, administrative costs or CEO pay raises to support. The expansion of Medicaid in some states under the Affordable Care Act saved the lives of at least 19,200 people from 2014 to 2017. Medicaid is also the single largest source of federal funding to Nevada. Trump’s administration also recently proposed radically altering Medicaid by changing it into a block grant program that would potentially affect millions of people. While Medicaid has traditoionally covered all federally approved prescription drugs, this new proposal would allow states to limit access to prescription drugs for most conditions. The proposal would also allow states to dramatically increase costs to patients by raising co-pays and even eliminating benefits that Medicaid patients currently have. The dramatic cuts to Medicaid in Trump’s budget proposal would put my military brothers’ and sisters’ health care at risk, along with many other people’s, and would drain money from our state’s budget, forcing further cuts in programs and services. Trump repeated his support for protection the coverage of those with pre-existing conditions in his recent State of the Union speech. He’s also repeatedly promised to protect Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, but those fake promises aren’t fooling anyone, given a string of actions that will have real consequences for people’s livelihood. Maybe Trump thinks no one will notice that his promises don’t match up with his actions, but he’s underestimating the average American. When it comes to health care, most of us are paying close attention and will take action to stop him from taking away our health care. Deja Wargo-Cole is the Southern Nevada community organizer for Battle Born Progress.

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