The FY 2018 budget proposal released today by the Trump Administration includes a host of provisions that would dramatically cut health care access, coverage, and benefits for our nation’s children. Most notably, it contains a Medicaid cut of $610 billion over 10 years, not to mention the additional Medicaid cuts that are part of the House’s plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes $839 billion in Medicaid cuts.

Combined, those Medicaid cuts would result in slashing the program by an astonishing $1.5 trillion over a decade.

While the President’s budget claims to “reform Medicaid while giving States the resources and flexibility they need to care for the most vulnerable,” it instead ends the Medicaid entitlement and replaces the current Medicaid financing structure with capped allotments that will dramatically underfund state Medicaid programs.

Rather than improving Medicaid operations in the states, the Trump budget would tie the hands of governors who will have no choice but to absorb cuts to the federal share of Medicaid funding by cutting eligibility and services and reducing benefits. If adopted, this budget would have a profound negative impact on the more than 38 million children who are insured through Medicaid.

On top of the Medicaid disaster, the budget also fundamentally restructures and cuts funding for the effective and popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). While the budget proposes a two-year extension for CHIP through 2019, it cuts allotments by $5.8 billion. The cost of a two-year extension of current CHIP policy had been estimated at $6-7 billion.

The Trump budget aims for $5.8 billion in CHIP savings – a 21% cut in the CHIP allotment — through a series of policy changes including: ending the ACA provision that provided a 23-point increase in state CHIP matching rates; ending the ACA’s Maintenance of Effort provision that required states to maintain current Medicaid and CHIP eligibility levels and benefits for children; capping CHIP eligibility at 250% FPL; and giving states the option to move children below 138% FPL who were moved into Medicaid after the ACA’s passage back to CHIP.

With funding for CHIP currently set to expire on September 30, 2017, CHIP extension legislation is a high-priority agenda item for the 115th Congress.

First Focus President Bruce Lesley describes the dire situation like this:

“By any and every measure, the children’s health proposals included in the Trump budget would have a devastating impact on our nation’s most vulnerable children and families.

At a time when more than 95% of children in America are enrolled in some source of health coverage, the President is proposing to decimate the programs that are responsible for this record-breaking success.

We urge Congress to reject any proposal that undermines the progress our nation has made in covering kids. Ensuring that low-income families have access to affordable, comprehensive coverage— through Medicaid and CHIP — has long been a bipartisan priority for Congress.

We urge policymakers to reject President Trump’s misplaced priorities and to continue to support cost-effective coverage provided through Medicaid or CHIP.”