House Budget Committee Approves Budget Resolution, Which Includes Medicare and Medicaid Proposals of Concern
On March 16, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee approved a fiscal year 2017 budget resolution, including Medicare and Medicaid proposals. The budget resolution, which proposes $1.07 trillion in discretionary spending for FY2017 and $7 trillion in deficit reduction over ten years, would change Medicare into a premium-based system, combine Medicare Part A and Part B, limit supplemental insurance, and turn Medicaid into a block grant program. The resolution would also repeal the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the ACA in its entirety. While NAHC supports targeted reforms to the ACA, such as repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, NAHC opposes the proposals in the resolution restructuring Medicare and Medicaid that create barriers to home care and hospices services.
The Committee also passed an amendment to the resolution encouraging leaders to attach “sidecar” legislation that would cut an additional $30 billion over two years and $150 billion over a decade. While the full House may have enough votes to pass the legislation along with the budget resolution on the House floor, the Medicare and Medicaid proposals would unlikely pass the Senate and would be opposed by the President. The potential companion legislation would include H.R. 4725, the Common Sense Savings Act, which was passed out of the House Energy & Commerce (E&C) Committee this week. H.R. 4725 would reduce the Medicaid provider tax from 6 – 5.5 percent. Some states use the tax on nursing homes to generate in-state funds that qualify for federal matching funds. The proposal would have the effect of reducing federal Medicaid funding to the states. Another proposal in H.R. 4725 would eliminate the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage for the Children’s Health Insurance Program starting in FY2016 through FY2019.
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