Senate Republicans have given up on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for now, but that doesn’t mean they’re done messing with health care. Their 2018 budget proposal paves the way for a $1.5 trillion tax cut to be offset by massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, according to Senate Democrats who are sounding the alarm.
“A lot of attention has been paid to the Republican plan that will cost trillions and trillions of dollars, but not many Americans know that the president and Republicans are going to try to pay for some of those tax cuts by slashing programs seniors and middle-class Americans rely on,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a news conference Tuesday.
The proposed fiscal 2018 budget resolution Senate Republicans announced last week would lead to a $1 trillion cut to Medicaid and $473 billion cut to Medicare over the next decade, along with slashing other programs low-income individuals rely on, according to a new report prepared by the Senate Budget Committee minority staff.
The GOP has not yet publicly outlined the details of its budget proposal, but the report, from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., warns the cuts would attack safety net programs.
On top of giving massive tax breaks to the people “who need it the least,” the proposed budget resolution would result in $1 trillion in cuts to Medicaid, which “will throw 15 million people off of the health insurance they currently have,” Sanders said Tuesday to reporters on Capitol Hill.
“And then on top of that, what they want to do is provide $470 billion in cuts to Medicare, at a time when so many seniors are struggling to keep their heads above water,” Sanders added.
Republicans on Capitol Hill say it’s unfair to call it a “cut,” because it is instead a reduction in the rate of growth. That slowed growth, however, will come as the population is rapidly aging.
The Republican plan defies President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to save Medicare and Medicaid “without cuts.”
“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” Trump tweeted one month before he formally announced his bid for the presidency.
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2015
Sanders’s report predicts that if the cuts are applied proportionately, Republicans in total would cut at least $5 trillion over the next decade from education, health care, affordable housing, child care, nutrition assistance, transportation, and other programs.
“But it’s not only cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, it is cuts to nutrition programs,” Sanders said. “The [Women, Infants, and Children] program, designed to provide help to low-income pregnant women and newly born babies, will be cut when we have more infant mortality, higher infant mortality, than any other country. Head Start programs will be cut, child care programs will be cut, affordable housing programs will be cut.”