The Trump administration is going to be rolling out another budget proposal on Tuesday, and the preview has already sent the media into the spin cycle. The report is that the budget will contain both a large Medicaid cut and significant food stamp reforms.
The Washington Post is reporting from an anonymous source (naturally) that Medicaid could be reduced significantly, which is sure to rattle everyone’s political cages.
For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade.
Now remember, the AHCA bill that the House passed (which the Senate has yet to deal with) will supposedly roll back the Medicaid expansion that exploded under Obamacare and was responsible for those glowing enrollment numbers. As FiveThirtyEight points out:
Before the ACA, Medicaid was not an insurance program for the poor; it was an insurance program for some people who were poor. It largely covered people whose incomes were equivalent to a fraction of the federal poverty line or who met some other criteria, such as having a disability, being pregnant or being a woman with children.
Obamacare changed that, opening up Medicaid to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty line in states that chose to expand the program. Thirty-one states and D.C. opted to expand Medicaid, and more than 11 million people joined the Medicaid rolls who were previously not eligible. That’s the bulk of people who gained insurance coverage under the law. The GOP bill would freeze that part of the program on Jan. 1, 2020.
Is the proposed budget anticipating that the Senate will pass some version of the AHCA, which will then go through a reconciliation process, and still retain those proposed Medicaid cuts? It’s impossible to say, but I find it highly improbable that an $80 billion a year over the next ten years makes it out of both houses of Congress. Should it? Well, I’ve talked previously about what Medicaid is currently covering. It would be nice if we could have an honest debate about what we, as a society, want to see as a safety net, without being accused of wanting all poor people to die every time a budget cut is proposed. Apparently, that’s too much to ask of some people.
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