Republicans are cautiously optimistic about their new goldmine, a report from the Congressional Budget Office that found that their budget proposal would slash funding for the Medicare Advantage program by $2.6 trillion over the next decade.
But the report was critical of the GOP’s budget plan, which would dramatically cut funding for Medicaid, which provides health insurance to low-income Americans.
The CBO score is a major piece of the Republican Party’s budget blueprint, which has already won the backing of President Donald Trump, who said he will sign it into law.
In its analysis, the CBO concluded that the GOP plan would significantly cut Medicaid spending, especially for low- and moderate-income people.
“The Budget Control Act of 2011 required the President to create a deficit-neutral, cost-neutral alternative to Medicare Part D, and the GOP budget would do exactly that by cutting Medicare by $1,959 per beneficiary, or $1.8 trillion, in real dollars over the 10-year period,” the CBO said in a statement.
But in a press release on Friday, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said the CBO report “doesn’t paint a pretty picture of how the Republican plan will affect seniors, the disabled, or low-wage workers, as well as millions of Americans across the country.”
“The CBO’s latest analysis shows the GOP has a plan that would slash Medicare by more than $1 trillion over 10 years,” Brady said.
“Republicans must explain how this plan would help millions of people and families, including seniors, disabled people, and workers who are struggling to make ends meet.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, called the CBO score “a major disappointment.”
“It is not a good sign that CBO doesn’t believe the President’s $1tn-plus spending plan will succeed,” he said in the statement.
“This is an important step in the right direction, but we must not let the CBO and the President off the hook for failing to produce accurate projections on how their plan would impact the American people.”
Democrats are skeptical of the CBO’s analysis.
“It’s clear that the Republicans want to spend trillions on tax cuts and corporate welfare, yet their budget shows that they would do more harm to seniors and the working poor than to the rich,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “Their plan is simply not balanced.”
The CBO report also found that the plan would leave in place a Medicare Advantage expansion, which was set to begin in 2024, that provides coverage for more than 2.5 million low- to moderate-earning seniors.
Democrats have long opposed the expansion, saying it’s a giveaway to the wealthy.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget and Impoundment Office (CBO) has repeatedly said that Republicans have the ability to enact changes to the Medicare program that are better for the poor and working poor.
Republicans say they want to reduce the number of beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare by cutting the program’s spending and by lowering eligibility thresholds.
The Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which established the Medicare prescription drug benefit, set the number at 62 million beneficiaries.
Democrats and the CBO have repeatedly said the GOP plans to slash Medicaid by $800 billion over the decade.
They also say Republicans have said they are willing to accept a 20 percent cut to the program in exchange for a tax cut.
The Senate GOP health care bill would cut Medicaid by more and add another $400 billion to the deficit over 10 months.
Republicans argue that cutting Medicaid by a million beneficiaries would be better for Americans than the $800 million cut they would take.
The GOP says it will not accept that kind of change, and that it would cut spending to pay for the expansion.
The House Budget Committee will vote on the GOP health plan on Friday.