House and Senate Budget Resolutions Include Medicaid Block Grant Proposals
Leadership in both the House and the Senate have released budget proposals for FY2016. As they have in the past several years, House Republicans are proposing to cut spending on Medicaid, food stamps and, eventually, Medicare, repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and reduce taxes on investment income and corporations. The proposal includes a number of significant changes to programs, including Medicaid and Medicare. The House Budget Committee has passed the House Republican proposal on a straight party-line vote. The Senate budget panel followed suit a few hours later, passing the Senate Republican’s proposal on a 12-10 vote that also fell along party lines.
Proposed changes in the House budget document include:
- Combining CHIP and Medicaid into a single program and converting the Federal share of Medicaid spending into “flexible State allotments, which States will be able to tailor to meet their unique needs.”
- Complete repeal of the ACA
- Establishing vouchers in Medicaid for private insurance;
The Senate proposal also projects significant savings, largely from reductions to health programs. The Senate proposal contains language to repeal the ACA as well as create a new program for certain children and adults based on the CHIP program. According to Senate Republican budget documents, the Medicaid proposal:
- “Continues funding for CHIP and creates a new program based on CHIP to serve low-income, working-age, able-bodied adults, and children who are eligible for Medicaid.
- Increases state flexibility in designing benefits and administering its programs, to encourage efficiency and reduce wasteful spending.
- Makes no changes to the funding of acute care services for the low-income elderly and individuals with disabilities.
- Provides stable and predictable funding so long-term services and supports are sustainable for both the federal government and the states.”
The Senate’s budget resolution also encourages “State Medicaid demonstration programs to promote independent living and integrated work for the disabled…provided that such legislation would not increase the deficit.”
The proposed budget outlines the financial priorities of Congressional leadership, but actual program funding will ultimately be determined through the Appropriations process.
FMI: The House budget resolution can be read at http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/legislativetext.pdf and the House Republican’s summary of their budget plan can be read at http://budget.house.gov/uploadedfiles/fy16budget.pdf. The Senate budget resolution, and the Senate Republican’s summary, is available at http://www.budget.senate.gov/republican/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=81b01032-186d-4166-b21b-8035b89853d9.