Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan Releases His Budget
April 3, 2014 10:36 AM
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his FY2015 budget framework earlier this week. Rep. Ryan’s budget calls for cutting $5 trillion in federal spending by significantly overhauling social entitlement programs - like Medicare and Medicaid, by relinquishing government control of Fannie May and Freddie Mac and by repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The GOP plan would cut Medicaid sharply by providing the states with block grants for the federal portion of the program rather than the current structure, which awards funding based on population and need. Food stamps and housing assistance would also be transitioned to block grant systems.
Chairman Ryan’s budget once again included its controversial approach to overhauling Medicare that would switch the program — for those under 55 today — from a traditional "fee for service" framework in which the government pays health care providers to a voucher-like "premium support" approach in which the government subsidizes purchases of health insurance - creating a Medicare Exchange of private plans competing for members.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) has expressed concern about access to care for disabled, and elderly patients under Medicare and Medicaid if the proposed budget changes were put into effect. NAHC opposes efforts to shift Medicaid to a block grant program, which would limit the federal contribution and allow states to cap enrollment and services when a certain expenditure point is reached. And it advocates that Medicare should continue to guarantee specific benefits and believes that privatizing the program through vouchers or premium subsidies would place many seniors at risk. The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations strongly opposes the Medicare and Medicaid proposals in this budget.
The Ryan budget is scheduled to be marked up in committee later this week, and will hit the House floor sometime next week, according to GOP leadership staff. Even if it does pass the house, it won’t go anywhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate, where Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA) doesn’t plan on introducing a budget for next year, given she and Rep. Ryan crafted a budget agreement that was passed by both chambers that funds the government through 2015.