Obama's budget will protect Medicaid funds, with states' expansion of program key to success of health overhaul
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013, 7:18 p.m.
WASHINGTON — President Obama's budget next week will steer clear of major cuts to Medicaid, including tens of billions in reductions to the health care plan for the poor that the administration proposed only last year.
Big cuts in the federal-state program wouldn't go over too well at a time that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is wooing financially skittish Republican governors to expand Medicaid coverage to millions who are uninsured. That expansion in the states is critical to the success of Obama's health overhaul, which is rolling out this fall and early next year.
The president's budget is to be released on Wednesday.
Perhaps half of the nearly 30 million people gaining health insurance under the law are to be covered through Medicaid. But the Supreme Court last year gave individual states the right to reject the expansion. A principal argument against the expansion in state capitals is that Washington cannot be trusted to keep its promise of generous funding for new recipients.
In recent weeks, senior White House officials have gone out of their way to reassure activists that Medicaid will be protected in the budget.
“Since generous federal funding for the Medicaid expansion is the key inducement for governors to decide to expand their programs, the administration does not want to undermine that inducement by cutting federal Medicaid funding,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, an administration ally helping to promote coverage benefits that take effect next year under the law.
Pollack said he has received personal assurances on Medicaid from several senior White House officials. “The Supreme Court decision last June was a game changer for the way the administration views Medicaid budgeting,” he said.
White House officials aren't commenting, but Obama's budget would set up a clear contrast with the Republican-led House. The GOP budget would turn Medicaid over to the states and sharply reduce spending from projected levels. It would repeal the expansion of Medicaid, along with the rest of Obama's health care law.
As far as curbs on Medicare, the other major federal health care program, Obama seems to be searching for compromise with Republicans.
The two sides have floated similar proposals to raise monthly premiums for upper-middle class and wealthy retirees. There's interest in changing Medicare's co-payments and deductibles in ways that would protect the sickest beneficiaries but likely raise costs for others. And while Obama has backed away from raising the eligibility age, he does seem willing to treat new beneficiaries differently by asking them to pay more for some services.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rockwell smashes record for American art auctions
- Rockwell smashes record for American art
- Sandy Hook 911 calls fuel sensitivity debate
- Young Americans sour on Obama
- Don’t give up on health care law, Obama urges young activists
- 2 million Facebook, Twitter, Google passwords pilfered
- Bashir resigns over comments about Palin
- Arctic front blasts deep into U.S., will shift east
- Fatal mishap behind them, skydivers return to air
- Health care website to meet its goals, feds say
- 300,000-year-old DNA muddles evolutionary trail