House Panel Approves 2012 Budget, Including Medicare, Medicaid Cuts

The AP (4/7, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports, “The Republican-led House Budget Committee approved a $3.5 trillion budget for 2012 on Wednesday that was hailed by its GOP authors as an end to a federal spending binge but savaged by Democrats as an assault on retirees and the poor.” Notably, the “party-line 22-16 vote underscored the sharp partisan divide over the blueprint, crafted by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at a time of record federal red ink.” This budget proposal “lays the groundwork for a decade of cuts in spending, taxes and deficits, tempered by a shift in medical costs from the government to future retirees and a reshaping of the two chief federal health programs for the elderly and poor, Medicare and Medicaid.”
Ryan Plan Aims To Shift Rising Healthcare Costs From Government. The NPR (4/7, Goldstein) “Planet Money” blog reports that currently, “the federal government shoulders much of the burden” for increasing healthcare costs, “particularly for the elderly, who are covered through Medicare.” But, “Rep. Paul Ryan wants to change that. In the big budget plan he proposed yesterday, the government would pick up the Medicare tab at current rates,” which means “the burden would shift from the government to the elderly.”
The National Journal (4/7, Fernholz, Subscription Publication) reports, “Congressional Republicans have derided President Obama’s health care reform act since before it was enacted, arguing that it won’t work, doesn’t save money, and represents a government takeover of health care.” But, after Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his budget plan, “Obama’s work began to look only half-bad.” The Journal notes, “Over the next 10 years, Ryan’s plan would cut $1.4 trillion in expanded health-care coverage that Obama’s law would have provided and eliminate $520 billion in revenue increases that were supposed to pay for part of the bill.”
CQ HealthBeat (4/7, Adams, Subscription Publication) reports, “Because seniors would pay higher costs under the proposed system, the federal government’s share of Medicare spending would be the same in 2022 under Ryan’s plan as it would under current law. The nonpartisan CBO analysis said that out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries would more than double in 2022 when compared with the current system.”
Liberal Group To Air Ad Against Proposed Medicare Cuts. The Hill (4/7, Fabian) “Blog Briefing Room” reports, “The liberal group Americans United for Change released a television ad Wednesday that goes after Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) plan to drastically change the Medicare entitlement program.” The Hill adds, “The 30-second ad, titled ‘Hands off Medicare,’ is set to air this week nationally on MSNBC and other cable news stations in Washington, according to the group. It says Ryan’s plan would transform Medicare…into a voucher program to subsidize the purchase of private insurance.”
Ryan’s Plan May Erode Senior Support For GOP. USA Today (4/7, Wolf, Kennedy) reports, “Republicans unveiled a budget-cutting plan Tuesday that would dramatically revamp the twin health care pillars of the Great Society, taking a huge political risk that could reverberate all the way to November 2012 and beyond.” Notably, “Medicare, the government-run health insurance program covering about 47 million seniors and people with disabilities, would be run by private insurers and would cost beneficiaries more, or offer them less.” Meanwhile, “Medicaid, the federal-state program covering more than 50 million low-income Americans, would be turned over to the states and cut by $750 billion over 10 years, forcing lesser benefits or higher co-payments. Social Security eventually would be cut, too.” The National Journal (4/7, Brownstein, Bland, Subscription Publication) also covers the story.

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