Republicans and Democrats in Congress are still worlds apart on taxes and spending, as they showed in budget blueprints that launched a new round of debate on the federal deficit. They agree, though, that Congress should find billions in federal healthcare spending to cut over the next decade.
In a 22-17 vote, the House Budget Committee passed Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal to balance the federal budget in 10 years. Mirroring ideas he has put forward in the past two years, the Wisconsin Republican's plan once again recommends a premium-support model for Medicare, which would allow those born in 1959 or later to have a choice between private health plans or traditional fee-for-service Medicare starting in 2024. The House GOP plan would shift Medicaid to a block-grant program for states similar to the Children's Health Insurance Program. Providers and patient advocate groups decried the proposal and the more than $750 billion in Medicaid cuts to providers over 10 years that would result from it.