Republicans’ FY 2012 Budget Plan Advances Through House Panel
On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee completed markup of the GOP's fiscal year 2012 budget proposal -- unveiled on Tuesday by committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) -- and advanced it to the full chamber on a party-line vote of 22-16, The Hill's "On The Money" reports (Wasson , "On The Money," The Hill, 4/6).
Details of Budget Plan
The proposal would make $6 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next decade, attempt to repeal and defund the federal health reform law and overhaul Medicare and Medicaid. It would provide Medicare beneficiaries with lump-sum vouchers to buy private insurance and turn Medicaid into a block-grant system. The Medicaid overhaul would provide states with fixed annual block grants of $11,000 per beneficiary to use as they choose.
The House is expected to pass the proposal and send it to the Senate.
Democrats have criticized the proposal for making cuts to entitlement programs but not reducing defense spending or seeking higher tax revenue (California Healthline, 4/6).
Committee Democrats planned to offer 30 amendments to the proposal, but ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) withdrew nine of them after 19 were defeated along party lines. Two amendments not related to health care were accepted (Wasson , "On The Money," The Hill, 4/6).
One of the amendments would have restored unlimited Medicaid funding to seniors in nursing homes (Wasson , "On The Money," The Hill, 4/6). Another amendment would have permitted up to $1.6 billion more in spending for NIH, funded by a change in the tax law and a reduction of subsidies to oil companies (Sanchez, National Journal, 4/6).
GOP, Dems Disagree
During the debate, Democrats said the budget proposal declares "war" on seniors and low-income individuals while protecting the wealthy.
Van Hollen criticized tax breaks for the richest U.S. residents and said those individuals are not part of a "shared sacrifice" with others who face reduced health care subsidies.
Republicans said Democrats do not take the national debt seriously and are unwilling to consider necessary entitlement overhauls (Wasson , "On The Money," The Hill, 4/6).
GOP Tests Loyalty of Older Residents
Republicans' proposal to cut Medicare and Medicaid spending is a gamble because many beneficiaries are older U.S. residents who typically support the GOP, National Journal reports.
However, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said he believes Republicans can explain to seniors that entitlement reform will take many years to implement and is necessary to control national deficits.
He said, "I think we will be able to make the point that if you are on Medicare or anywhere close to it, you will be able to keep the system you have." He added, "We will also be able to make the point that this is the only way your program can be saved over time."
According to National Journal, Democrats already are preparing to take advantage of a Congressional Budget Office report that found elderly U.S. residents would have to pay more for health care under the Ryan proposal (Brownstein/Bland, National Journal, 4/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.