Although the Congressional Budget Office says the administration’s budget would reduce Medicaid funding by $610 billion in the next decade over current expectations, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services says you can’t consider it a cut because the amount of money would continue to grow.

Democrats Home In On Opioid Crisis In Bashing Proposed Medicaid Cuts

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price defended the White House’s proposed cuts to Medicaid in its 2018 budget blueprint before a pair of congressional committees on Thursday, parrying blows from Democrats furious over spending reductions they say President Trump pledged on the campaign trail never to approve. … Price maintained that the 2018 budget blueprint is not a cut to Medicaid. The allocation proposed for Medicaid is indeed an increase over the previous fiscal year. But in 2018 and in future years, the pace of increases is slowed such that Medicaid expenditures would drop by 25 percent over the next decade as compared with current law. (Facher, 6/8)

Kaiser Health News:
Capitol Hill Dems, HHS Secretary Price Trade Jabs On HHS Budget

In back-to-back appearances on Capitol Hill Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price sparred with Democrats over the Trump administration’s budget cuts for his department and coming troubles in the individual health insurance market. “President Trump’s budget does not confuse government spending with government success,” Price said, defending a spending plan that calls for substantial funding reductions to Medicaid, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other HHS agencies. (Bluth, 6/8)

The Hill:
Price, Hatch Contradict Mulvaney On Medicaid Cuts

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) contradicted Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney Thursday on Medicaid cuts in President Trump’s budget proposal. Hatch opened a Thursday hearing by saying that the president’s budget did not incorporate the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) to repeal and replace Obamacare. As a result, he argued critics could not add up the roughly $600 billion in Medicaid cuts outlined in the budget to the roughly $800 billion cut in AHCA. … Price made the same argument in his testimony. (Elis, 6/8)

In other Medicaid news —

Modern Healthcare:
Private Accreditors Balk At CMS Proposal To Make Reports Public 

A proposed CMS rule that would require private accreditation organizations to publicly release reports on healthcare facilities is garnering widespread backlash from stakeholders, but patient safety experts say it’s high time to increase transparency. The CMS in late April proposed that accreditors like the Joint Commission post survey reports and corrective action plans within 90 days of visiting a healthcare organization. The goal is to help healthcare consumers “make a more informed decision” about where they receive care and encourage “healthcare providers to improve the quality of care and services they provide,” according to the CMS. (Castelucci, 6/9)

Boston Globe:
State Taps 18 Providers, Insurers For MassHealth Overhaul 

Governor Charlie Baker’s administration said Thursday that it has chosen 18 networks of health care providers and insurers, from Boston to the Berkshires to launch the biggest redesign of the state Medicaid program in more than two decades. They include the state’s largest hospital systems: Partners HealthCare, Steward Health Care System, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health, and UMass Memorial Health Care and others. (Dayal McCluskey, 6/8)

Illinois Bonds Hit Hard After U.S. Judge’s Medicaid Ruling

Illinois general obligation bond prices plummeted and yields soared in the U.S. municipal market on Thursday, a day after a federal judge ordered the cash-strapped state to find more money to pay Medicaid providers. Yields on bonds due in 2024 climbed to 5.15 percent in secondary market trading where the yield on a top-rated bond maturing that same year was only 1.42 percent, according to Municipal Market Data. (6/8)

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