HHS Secretary Azar defends Trump budget cuts to Medicaid, NIH programs

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar took some heat on Capitol Hill over the Trump administration‘s proposed cuts in health care in its budget, but he also won some bipartisan praise for pushing to lower drug prices for Medicare patients.

would slash the department‘s discretionary funding by 12 percent from nearly $100 billion to $87.5 billion for the next fiscal year, with big cuts to the Medicaid safety net program, the National Institutes of Health and other divisions.

“It is important to note HHS had the largest discretionary budget of any nondefense department in 2018, which means that staying within the caps set by Congress has required difficult choices that I‘m sure many will find quite hard to countenance,” Azar said in his opening remarks before the House Energy and Commerce committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.