First Edition: March 12, 2019

Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations.

The Trump administration took another step toward fulfilling its goal of ending the HIV epidemic in the United States Monday by requesting $291 million for its initiative in the White House’s annual budget. But within the budget, the administration also proposed actions that could undermine efforts to control the virus’s spread, HIV experts and advocates said, including carving out funds from programs that aim to eradicate HIV in other parts of the world. Among those moves was a $1.35 billion cut in the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Heredia Rodriguez, 3/12)

Jennifer Millar keeps trash bags and hand sanitizer near her tent, and she regularly pours water mixed with hydrogen peroxide on the sidewalk nearby. Keeping herself and the patch of concrete she calls home clean is a top priority. But this homeless encampment off a Hollywood freeway ramp is often littered with needles and trash, and soaked in urine. Rats occasionally scamper through, and Millar fears the consequences.“I worry about all those diseases,” said Millar, 43, who said she has been homeless most of her life. (Gorman, 3/12)

It was a sleepy Saturday in mid-February. But Virginia Sanders was speaking, and the audience was rapt. “One might not have the power. But a thousand has the power,” she said. “Don’t let anybody fool you that you don’t.” Sanders, 76, has been an organizer and activist all her life. She marched in the civil rights movement. She protested against the Vietnam War. During the 2016 primary, friends recall, this petite black woman marched up to men in Ku Klux Klan robes to distribute flyers about then-candidate Bernie Sanders — no relation. (Luthra, 3/12)

When Erin Gilmer filled her insulin prescription at a Denver-area Walgreens in January, she paid $8.50. U.S. taxpayers paid another $280.51. “It eats at me to know that taxpayer money is being wasted,” said Gilmer, who has Medicare and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes while a sophomore at the University of Colorado in 2002.The diagnosis meant that for the rest of her life she’d require daily insulin shots to stay alive. But the price of that insulin is skyrocketing. (Sable-Smith, 3/12)

President Trump sent Congress on Monday a record $4.75 trillion budget request that calls for increased military spending and sharp cuts to domestic programs like education and environmental protection for the 2020 fiscal year. (Tankersley and Tackett, 3/11)

The biggest losers: Under Trump’s budget proposal, 10 major departments and agencies would see their budgets slashed by 10 percent (or more) in the next year alone: Agriculture, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation, Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency. (Long, 3/11)

Under Trump’s proposal, the budget deficit is projected to hit $1.1 trillion next year — the highest in a decade. The administration is counting on robust economic growth, including from the 2017 Republican tax cuts, to push down the red ink. (3/11)

The budget proposal ran into an immediate buzz saw on Capitol Hill, where many Democrats flatly rejected it and even some Republicans sought to distance themselves from key details. (Paletta, Werner and Stein, 3/11)

President Donald Trump proposed a record $4.7 trillion budget, pushing the federal deficit past $1 trillion but counting on optimistic growth, accounting shuffles and steep domestic cuts to bring future spending into balance in 15 years. Reviving his border wall fight with Congress, Trump wants more than $8 billion for the barrier with Mexico, and he’s also asking for a big boost in military spending. That’s alongside steep cuts in health care and economic support programs for the poor that Democrats — and even some Republicans — will oppose. (3/12)

While the cuts are unlikely to become reality — Congress has rejected many of Trump’s previous requests — the budget is an important signal of the administration’s priorities and suggests a major funding fight in October. (Rabinowitz and Uhrmacher, 3/11)

“The lack of seriousness that the president brings to budget negotiations only further damages his relationship with Congress,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D., Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Monday. “Democrats wholeheartedly reject his proposal.” (Davidson, 3/11)

While past presidents used the release of their annual spending plans as an opportunity to lay out short- and long-term visions, and to influence subsequent negotiations on Capitol Hill, Trump has taken the lack of regard for budgets to new lows, reflecting his own lack of interest in policy details, his administration’s thin staffing and its overall ambivalence about the nitty-gritty of policy-making. (Bierman, 3/11)

The Trump administration is proposing a sharp slowdown in Medicaid spending as part of a broad reduction in the government’s investment in health care, calling for the public insurance for the poor to morph from an entitlement program to state block grants even after a Republican Congress rejected the idea. The budget released by the White House on Monday also calls for a sizable reduction for Medicare, the federal insurance for older Americans that President Trump has consistently promised to protect. Most of the trims relate to changing payments to doctors and hospitals and renewing efforts to ferret out fraud and wasteful billing — oft-cited targets by presidents of both parties. (Goldstein and Stein, 3/11)

Trump’s 10-year budget unveiled Monday calls for more than $845 billion in reductions for Medicare, aiming to cut “waste, fraud and abuse” in the federal program that gives insurance to older Americans. It’s part of a broader proposed belt-tightening effort after deficits soared during the president’s first two years in office in part due to massive tax cuts for the wealthy. The move immediately tees up a potential messaging battle between Democratic proposals for Medicare-for-all — castigated by Republicans as a socialist boondoggle — and a kind of Medicare-for-less approach. focused on cutting back on spending, from the GOP. (Olorunnipa and Sullivan, 3/11)

The White House on Monday proposed capping out-of-pocket prescription drug expenses for seniors covered by Medicare, re-emphasizing Trump administration support for a concept endorsed both by pharmaceutical companies and congressional Democrats. The proposal came within President Trump’s draft budget proposal — a document that also calls for a roughly $5.5 billion funding cut for the National Institutes of Health, despite the recent announcement of research and public health initiatives to end new HIV transmissions by 2030 and develop new treatments for childhood cancer. (Facher, 3/12)

Hospital groups are objecting strongly to hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts in President Donald Trump’s budget. Two major hospital trade groups did not mince words in blog posts Monday by their leaders. Chip Kahn, president of the Federation of American Hospitals, is calling proposed Medicare cuts “arbitrary and blunt,” adding, “the impact on care for seniors would be devastating.” (3/11)

The Trump administration is calling for $291 million for its domestic campaign to stop the transmission of HIV in the United States within a decade, proposing significant new resources for programs that have not received major increases in the past few decades. The administration announced a budget for fiscal 2020 on Monday that follows President Trump’s State of the Union pledge to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. (Sun, 3/11)

It also proposed a 29% cut to its fiscal 2020 contribution to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a Geneva-based, international financing organization, and a $1 billion decrease in U.S. funding for the Global Fund over the next three years. The U.S. would match $1 for every $3 pledged by other donors in a coming fundraising round for the next three-year period, the budget said. That is down from a $1 for every $2 match from the U.S. during fundraising for the current three-year period, which ends this year. The new match level “challenges other donors to make significant new commitments to fighting the three diseases,” the budget document said. (McKay, 3/11)

President Trump’s third budget request, released Monday, again seeks cuts to a number of scientific and medical research enterprises, including a 13 percent cut to the National Science Foundation, a 12 percent cut at the National Institutes of Health and the termination of an Energy Department program that funds speculative technologies deemed too risky for private investors. (Achenbach, Guarino, Kaplan and Dennis, 3/11)

The administration’s budget signals cuts at almost every institute that is part of the NIH. For example, the budget proposes a cut of $897 million for the National Cancer Institute, down from $6.14 billion this year. Another big NIH component, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, would lose about $486 million in funding, to $3 billion from $3.49 billion for fiscal 2019, accounting for rounding. The Food and Drug Administration would fare considerably better under the president’s proposal, with a $643 million increase in funding, to $6.14 billion. (Burton and Armour, 3/11)

The e-cigarette industry would pay $100 million a year in user fees under the Trump administration budget proposal released Monday. The funds would go to beefed-up regulatory oversight by the Food and Drug Administration. E-cigarettes […]

Tags:, ,