House Passes the Ryan Budget
Budget framework includes steep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act
April 10, 2014 03:04 PM
The House of Representatives earlier today passed the latest version of the Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The budget framework, which aims to achieve a balance between federal spending and revenues in ten years, passed the House by a mainly party-line vote of 219 – 205. Twelve Republicans joined with all of the chamber’s Democrats in opposing the budget, which aims to balance the budget by cutting more than $5 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years – mostly from social programs.
NAHC has expressed concern in the past that some of the provisions contained in the Ryan budget could lead to access to care issues for disabled, and elderly patients under Medicare and Medicaid.
Specifically, 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 recently passed budget 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.
Additionally, Chairman Ryan’s budget once again included a 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 Democratic-led Senate has indicated that it will not put Chairman Ryan’s budget up for a vote, meaning that it is unlikely to become law.
For more on the Ryan budget, please see NAHC Report, April 3, 2014.
For more on Medicaid-specific provisions contained in the budget, please see NAHC Report, April 4, 2014.