President Trump has rejected a Pentagon proposal to cut military health services by $2.2 billion, he announced on Twitter.
“A proposal by Pentagon officials to slash Military Healthcare by $2.2 billion dollars has been firmly and totally rejected by me. We will do nothing to hurt our great Military professionals & heroes as long as I am your President. Thank you!” the commander-in-chief wrote late Monday on the social media platform.
The move came one day after Politico reported on the cuts, which were part of a plan being prepared for Defense Secretary Mark Esper.
The plan, according to the outlet, would have resulted in cuts to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, which trains the medical corps, and the Murtha Cancer Center.
The cuts, according to two senior Defense Department officials, would eviscerate the Pentagon’s health care budget as the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the country.
About 9.5 million active-duty personnel, military retirees and their family members use the military health system. The government-run network operates hundreds of health care facilities worldwide.
According to the outlet, Esper and his deputies believed the private health care system would be able to fill the budget gap that would likely emerge.
Top Trump administration officials, however, argued that the country’s private health care system wouldn’t be able to take on the needs of so many new military patients. Even the health department’s top emergency response official had warned the Pentagon against earlier cuts.
It is not clear where the requested cuts will be made instead. Esper was one year into a five-year plan to cut waste and inefficiencies within the Defense Department when the commander-in-chief nixed these purported cuts.
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