May 25, 2017

Cardin, Van Hollen to President Trump on Proposed Medicaid Cuts: America’s Veterans Deserve Better

Washington, DC – Today U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 15 other Democratic Senators to raise grave concerns with President Trump about his plans to gut Medicaid funding and slash investments in behavioral health research, and the impact on America’s veterans.

More than 30,000 veterans in Maryland and nearly 2 million veterans across the country rely on Medicaid for their health coverage. The American Health Care Act would slash Medicaid by $834 billion and eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, the mechanism through which 340,000 veterans receive health coverage. The budget proposed Tuesday by President Trump would impose additional Medicaid cuts of more than $610 billion, putting the health of veterans, their families, and millions of other Americans at risk.

“Your proposed cuts to Medicaid and your efforts to take away people’s health coverage are inconsistent with the promises you made to America’s veterans. They deserve better,” wrote the Senators. “We urge you to consider the impacts that gutting Medicaid would have on the lives and health of those who have sacrificed so much in service to our nation.”

“The Medicaid cuts being proposed by Republicans and Donald Trump are not only unconscionable but also represent a monumental lie to all of America -- particularly Trump voters -- who were told that Medicaid cuts would not happen if he was elected,” said Will Fischer, Director of Government Relations for VoteVets. “These cuts would impact nearly 2 million veterans who are on Medicaid, representing one out of every 10 veterans.  It tells you everything you need to know about who Donald Trump and Republicans value to see them try and rip health care away from millions of veterans, just so they can give sweetheart deals to their millionaire and billionaire buddies.”

Veterans experience higher rates of substance use disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, but President Trump’s budget strips nearly $400 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the federal agency that helps communities fight the opioid epidemic. These decreases are compounded by 20 percent funding cuts to the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which support research for treating substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injuries.

Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) also joined the letter urging President Trump to consider the repercussions for veterans who depend on Medicaid.

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