News Releases

Murray: “[President Trump’s budget] bulldozes right over the concerns of families with proposals that would make it harder for people to get care, and cuts that would undermine the wellbeing of families across the nation.”

Budget would undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and take health care away from tens of millions of people

Murray: “When it comes to medical research, this budget is a small step forward and a marathon sprint back…  For every new penny President Trump proposes for pediatric cancer research—he proposes cutting a dollar from the National Institutes of Health.”

Budget would undermine efforts to address HIV and opioid crises by gutting Medicaid which helps many people facing them get treatment

Murray slams budget’s language excluding Planned Parenthood from federal funding and the Trump-Pence Administration’s changes to the Title X family planning program meant to bar Planned Parenthood

Murray grilled Secretary Azar about Health Department officials tracking the reproductive health of unaccompanied minors in its custody

**Watch Senator Murray’s opening statement HERE**

(Washington, D.C.)  – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (LHHS), delivered opening remarks at an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with Health Secretary Alex Azar on President Trump’s proposed health budget. She criticized the Trump Administration for proposing damaging cuts and pushing polices that would undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions and lead to tens of millions of people losing their health coverage.  

Senator Murray slammed President Trump’s budget proposal for cutting over a trillion dollars from Medicaid and reversing Medicaid expansion—steps that would be devastating for efforts to fight HIV and opioid addiction. She also criticized a proposed $5 billion cut to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

Murray also pressed Secretary Azar on the Trump-Pence Administration’s ongoing efforts to undermine the Title X family planning program which helps millions of people across the country get health care by excluding trusted providers like Planned Parenthood from the program, and demanded answers about former Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd’s efforts to personally interfere with young women’s decisions about their bodies and track their reproductive health.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s opening remarks:

“People across the country made clear last November they want us to fight for their health care and make sure their families can get the care they need… But instead of fighting to defend people’s health care—President Trump is fighting in court to take health care away from millions of people who are covered through the exchanges, covered through Medicaid, and covered by their parents’ plans. Instead of fighting to bring costs down and help people get the care they need, he’s fighting in court against protections for over a hundred thirty million people with pre-existing conditions, for bringing back annual and lifetime caps on benefits, even for people who get insurance through their job, and for letting insurance companies offer plans that don’t cover essential services like maternity care and prescription drugs—and President Trump’s budget is cut from the same cloth. It bulldozes right over the concerns of families with proposals that would make it harder for people to get care, and cuts that would undermine the wellbeing of families across the nation.”

“I always say a budget is a reflection of your values—well like most of his actions, this budget tells a very different story about President Trump’s health care priorities than his empty promises. Despite claiming time and time again he would fight for people’s health care—and despite his recent claim Republicans would be ‘the party of health care’—President Trump is continuing to push for harmful policies that would weaken patient protections, take coverage away from people, and put needed health care further out of reach. Your budget includes Trumpcare, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would kick tens of millions of people off their health insurance.

“When it comes to curbing the HIV and opioid epidemics, President Trump promised to fight the fire—but his budget would actually fan the flames. It would make these crises far worse by cutting over a trillion dollars from Medicaid over the next decade, and repealing Medicaid expansion.”

“And when it comes to medical research, this budget is a small step forward and a marathon sprint back. While I applaud the Administration’s call for more pediatric cancer research. For every new penny President Trump proposes for pediatric cancer research however—he proposes cutting a dollar from the National Institutes of Health. Cutting medical research by 13 percent, as he proposed, would slow efforts to advance our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and develop vaccines for HIV and the flu and treatments and cures for every other kind of cancer.”

“This budget also continues the Trump-Pence Administration’s harmful trend of putting ideology over women’s health and reproductive freedoms. Its language specifically excluding Planned Parenthood from federal funding is just one of many alarming steps backwards for women’s health care from the Trump-Pence Administration. Another is the recent announcement stripping Title X family planning funds from several qualified Planned Parenthood affiliates—despite their proven record helping millions of people struggling to make ends meet get birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health services. Another example is the Administration’s gag rule which will push Planned Parenthood out of the program altogether, interfere with patients’ ability to learn about their full range of reproductive care options, and prevent people across the country from getting care they need from providers they trust.”

Watch Senator Murray’s full remarks HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s opening remarks below:

“Thank you Chairman Blunt, and welcome Secretary Azar.  

“People across the country made clear last November they want us to fight for their health care and make sure their families can get the care they need. 

“That means fighting for protections that allow people with pre-existing conditions to get quality, affordable health coverage.

“It means fighting to bring down skyrocketing health care costs.

“It means fighting for public health investments that keep our communities safe and address crises like the HIV and opioid epidemics.

“It means fighting for investments in research that can help discover new treatments and save lives.

“But instead of fighting to defend people’s health care—President Trump is fighting in court to take health care away from millions of people who are covered through the exchanges, covered through Medicaid, and covered by their parents’ plans.

“Instead of fighting to bring costs down and help people get the care they need, he’s fighting in court against protections for over a hundred thirty million people with pre-existing conditions, for bringing back annual and lifetime caps on benefits, even for people who get insurance through their job, and for letting insurance companies offer plans that don’t cover essential services like maternity care and prescription drugs—and President Trump’s budget is cut from the same cloth.

“It bulldozes right over the concerns of families with proposals that would make it harder for people to get care, and cuts that would undermine the wellbeing of families across the nation.

“Overall this budget proposes a deep $12.7 billion cut to the Department of Health and Human Services—slashing it by 14 percent.

“I always say a budget is a reflection of your values—well like most of his actions, this budget tells a very different story about President Trump’s health care priorities than his empty promises.

“Despite claiming time and time again he would fight for people’s health care—and despite his recent claim Republicans would be ‘the party of health care’—President Trump is continuing to push for harmful policies that would weaken patient protections, take coverage away from people, and put needed health care further out of reach.

“Your budget includes Trumpcare, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates would kick tens of millions of people off their health insurance.

“When it comes to curbing the HIV and opioid epidemics, President Trump promised to fight the fire—but his budget would actually fan the flames. It would make these crises far worse by cutting over a trillion dollars from Medicaid over the next decade, and repealing Medicaid expansion.

“Medicaid is the largest source of insurance coverage for people with HIV—covering more than 40 percent of people with HIV in care.

“And the 37 states that expanded Medicaid show how it can play an important role in addressing the opioid crisis as well. In some of these states, as many as four-out-of-five people receiving treatment for opioid addiction are insured by Medicaid.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also plays an important role addressing these public health crises and many others—yet the Trump Administration proposes cutting its budget by a tenth.

“It proposes cutting its immunization efforts by $78 million—even amid alarming measles outbreaks in my home state and several others.

“It proposes cutting its work on birth defects and disabilities by $44 million.

“And it proposes cutting its efforts to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens and emerging infectious diseases by $103 million—despite the World Health Organization labeling AMR, ‘one of the biggest threats to global health.’

“And when it comes to medical research, this budget is a small step forward and a marathon sprint back.

“While I applaud the Administration’s call for more pediatric cancer research…

“For every new penny President Trump proposes for pediatric cancer research however—he proposes cutting a dollar from the National Institutes of Health.

“Cutting medical research by 13 percent, as he proposed, would slow efforts to advance our understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, and develop vaccines for HIV and the flu and treatments and cures for every other kind of cancer.

“And at a time when our nation is facing a health professional shortage, it is proposing to cut almost $800 million from health care workforce training programs that support tuition assistance, loan forgiveness, and training for several hundred thousand health professionals annually.

“This budget also continues the Trump-Pence Administration’s harmful trend of putting ideology over women’s health and reproductive freedoms.

“Its language specifically excluding Planned Parenthood from federal funding is just one of many alarming steps backwards for women’s health care from the Trump-Pence Administration.

“Another is the recent announcement stripping Title X family planning funds from several qualified Planned Parenthood affiliates—despite their proven record helping millions of people struggling to make ends meet get birth control, cancer screenings, and other basic health services.

“Another example is the Administration’s gag rule which will push Planned Parenthood out of the program altogether, interfere with patients’ ability to learn about their full range of reproductive care options, and prevent people across the country from getting care they need from providers they trust. 

“Once again, the Trump Administration proposes eliminating safety net programs that provide critical assistance to millions of vulnerable families, like the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps families afford heating and cooling, and the Community Services Block Grant, which gives states resources to address the challenges of poverty.

“And eliminating funding for Preschool Development Grants, which provide high-quality preschool to tens of thousands of families.

“It is clear we are facing a child care crisis in this country, with parents struggling to find and pay for high-quality programs. We need more investments—not cuts—in early childhood education.

“And this budget continues to show disregard for families fleeing violence and extreme poverty in Central America.

“This budget proposes a gimmicky $2 billion contingency fund on the mandatory side for the Unaccompanied Children program—in addition to the base discretionary appropriation.

“Let me be clear, I want to ensure every child in HHS custody is well cared for, but I have been deeply disappointed in President Trump’s treatment of migrant children, from heartlessly separating children from their parents, to attempting to undermine protections for migrant children.

“And I have been frustrated with your Department for failing to sound the alarm on the lasting damage that family separation would cause, sharing information with the Department of Homeland Security so they can target potential sponsors for deportation, and relying heavily on unlicensed temporary facilities, which are three times as expensive as permanent beds in licensed centers.

“To say nothing of my concern that the Office of Refugee Resettlement was tracking young women’s reproductive health, and that former Director Scott Lloyd was personally interfering with young women’s decisions about their bodies.

“Finally, Mr. Secretary, I’m concerned by a recent proposal you outlined in a letter to my office to restructure the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health.

“This restructuring would impact programs that serve adolescents, women, low-income communities—and more.

“And I am concerned that proposal, much like this budget proposal, would serve little purpose beyond prioritizing ideology over the health needs of families across the country.

“Mr. Secretary, I also want to note that it’s inaccurate to claim the Budget Control Act requires the President to submit his budget at sequestration levels.

“In fact, just two years ago President Trump’s budget proposed an increase to the caps for defense spending.

“So Mr. Secretary, I hope you won’t rely on that excuse for the decisions in this budget. Thank you.”