House Republicans on Tuesday are expected to unveil a fiscal 2012 budget they say will reduce deficits by $4.4 trillion over 10 years and build on the welfare reforms of the late 1990s by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into block grants to states.
GOP plan includes Medicaid block grants, Medicare revamp
In an op-ed piece to be published in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) highlighted some essential elements of the ambitious financial plan Republicans have titled “The Path to Prosperity.” These include massive spending reductions and reforms to the nation's tax code, as well as entitlement programs. The budget proposes to cut $6.2 trillion in spending from President Barack Obama's fiscal 2012 budget that was released in February, and also aims to bring federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product. In an interview with Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday" on April 3, Ryan said currently spending is at about 25% of GDP.
In addition to block-grant funding for Medicaid—which Ryan said will allow states to “create a range of options and gives Medicaid patients access to better care”—the budget calls for changes to the Medicare program. The plan proposes that beginning in 2022, new Medicare beneficiiaries would be enrolled in the same kind of health program as members of Congress. Ryan emphasized that this would not be a voucher program, but rather a “premium-support model” that would allow beneficaries to choose a plan from a list of guaranteed options. The Medicare program would subsidize the cost of the plan that the beneficiary chooses. Meanwhile, Ryan said Medicare “will provide increased assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks.”
Specific details of the House GOP's budget for next year will be released Tuesday morning.
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