Senate Rejects House Medicare, Medicaid Proposal

According to a news story posted by HMFA, the Senate rejected the highly publicized House budget passed in April that proposed $6.2 trillion in spending cuts, including major cuts and changes in Medicare and Medicaid.

The budget proposal, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), was rejected 57-40 and was opposed by all Democratic senators voting and five Republicans. The measure needed 51 votes to pass. Ryan’s proposal called for privatizing Medicare and giving beneficiaries subsidies to buy private health plans. Known as premium support, the plan would help pay for insurance premiums and would begin for people turning 65 in 2022. Ryan’s version would drop the original fee-for-service version of Medicare, rather than preserving it as an alternative, the Washington Post reports.

Republicans said the proposed Medicare changes are necessary to keep Medicare’s trust fund from going insolvent in 2024, as predicted by Medicare trustees. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the Republican plan would balance the budget on the backs of seniors.

The Senate also rejected a proposal that would convert Medicaid from an open-ended program in which the government pays about 60 percent of the cost of services into a block grant program. Each state would determine how to spend grant money on health care for low-income residents using block grants. Republicans estimated that move would cut federal spending by $1 trillion over the next decade.

About 60 percent of Americans want Congress to keep Medicaid in its current form with the federal government guaranteeing coverage and setting minimum benefits for states to follow, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Blog story provided by Healthcare Financial Management Association http://www.hfma.org/

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Kristi Fredieu

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