Sunday, June 19, 2011

How Republican Ryan's Budget Plan Will Affect YOU!

Kenneth M. O’Brien

Democratic members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce recently released an analysis by Congressional District of the impact of the Ryan budget plan passed by the Republican dominated U. S. House of Representatives.

For the Second Congressional District of Massachusetts (which includes Southbridge), represented by Congressman Richard Neal, the analysis shows that it will:

• Reduce coverage for 25,900 dual eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on Medicaid to supplement their Medicare coverage or pay their Medicare cost sharing.

• Jeopardize nursing home care for 2,900 whose expenses are paid by Medicaid.

• Impair the health care of 61,000 children, including 4,600 newborns each year, who receive coverage under Medicaid.

• Cut payments to hospitals for 69,000 emergency room visits paid for by Medicaid each year.

• Cut payments to hospitals for 18,100 inpatient visits paid for by Medicaid each year.

• Reduce jobs and hurt economic growth by eliminating $2.3 billion in Medicaid spending.

In greater detail, the report analyzes the impact on Medicaid specifically as follows:

Republican Medicaid Proposals

On April 15, 2011, House Republicans passed their budget proposal (H. Con. Res. 34) for FY 2012. This budget proposes to turn Medicaid from an entitlement into a block grant and reduce federal spending on the program by nearly $800 billion over the next ten years. Under the Republican budget, federal spending on Medicaid in 2022 would be cut in half. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “Because of the magnitude of the reduction in federal Medicaid spending under the proposal ... states would face significant challenges in achieving sufficient cost savings.” As a result, they “could reduce the size of their Medicaid programs by cutting payment rates for doctors, hospitals, or nursing homes; reducing the scope of benefits covered; or limiting eligibility.”

On May 12, 2011, the Subcommittee on Health of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported legislation (H.R. 1683) to repeal Medicaid responsibility “maintenance of effort” provisions in Medicaid. These provisions prevent states from eliminating coverage for seniors, individuals with disabilities, children, pregnant women, and others currently enrolled in Medicaid. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote soon on this legislation. If it becomes law, this bill would allow states to make significant cuts immediately in Medicaid coverage.

Looking specifically at the Second Massachusetts Congressional District, the report states:

Impacts in Rep. Neal’s District

This analysis provides information on the impact of the Republican Medicaid proposals in the 2nd Congressional District of Massachusetts, which is represented by Rep. Richard E. Neal. Currently, 174,000 individuals in the district receive health care coverage under Medicaid.

Impacts on Seniors. Medicaid provides health care coverage for over 25,900 seniors and individuals with disabilities in the district who are “dual eligible” for both Medicare and Medicaid. The Medicaid benefits received by these individuals include payment of their Medicare Part B premiums, coverage of Medicare cost-sharing, dental and vision benefits, and long-term care. There are 2,900 nursing home residents in the district -- 67% of all nursing home residents -- whose care is paid for by Medicaid. Medicaid cuts of the magnitude proposed by House Republicans could lead to both eligibility and coverage restrictions for these seniors and individuals with disabilities, including reduced nursing home staffing and other cuts that affect quality of care and put seniors at risk.

Impacts on Infants and Children. Medicaid provides health care coverage, including vaccinations, well-child visits, and vision and dental benefits, for 61,000 children in the district. Last year, Medicaid also paid for the births of 4,600 children in the district. Cuts in Medicaid funding or eligibility could place coverage for these infants and children at risk.

Impacts on Hospitals. There are 279,000 emergency room visits each year in the 2nd Congressional District. Last year, Medicaid paid for 69,000 of these ER visits. If Medicaid eliminated coverage for these visits or reduced its reimbursement rates, local hospitals would experience a significant increase in uncompensated care, which could lead to cutbacks in the availability of emergency care and compromise readiness for terrorist events and other large-scale emergencies.
There are also 88,000 hospital visits annually in the district. An estimated 21% of these visits -- 18,100 hospital visits annually -- are paid for by Medicaid. If Medicaid payments were cut, hospitals would lose funds needed to maintain and provide critical services; if Medicaid eligibility were rolled back, many sick residents would be unable to pay for necessary care, increasing the amount of uncompensated care provided by hospitals.

Impacts on the Economy. Under the Republican budget, federal Medicaid assistance
would be cut by $771 billion over the next decade, an average of over $13,000 per enrollee for each of the almost 60 million Medicaid enrollees nationwide. In Rep. Neal’s district, cuts of this magnitude would mean a loss of $2.3 billion in federal health care funding over the next decade. The impact of these cuts would ripple through the state and local economy, costing jobs for health care providers and suppliers, slowing economic recovery, and reducing income taxes and other revenues.

The link above will provide similar analyses for all Congressional Districts, including the Third Massachusetts, which includes Worcester and other local communities represented by Congressman James McGovern.


  1. The Republican party, nationally and locally, is committed to cutting the wasteful spending that the Democrats view as "rights" of Americans, however, these entitlements are wrought with waste and fraud.

    It's too bad if these proposed cuts are geared at people who have been taking advantage of the system for far too long.

    As a lifelong Republican, Ryans proposal is a fresh step in the right direction. I am sick and tired of paying for myself and others.

    Why don't you bleeding hearts pay the Republicans share, since we are supporting all of you who won't help each other.

    Face it: the Republicans, as usual, are right.

    That's why we won this district on Beacon Hill, and it's why it's our seat for many years to come.

  2. Perhaps you should post what the consequences of the democrats plan are. Obamacare strips $500 billion from medicare. What are the consequences of that?

  3. For years Republicans have cited that as an estimate of waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare. The Affordable Healthcare Act addresses exactly that point.

    As an example take the case of the company formerly headed by the current Republican Governor of Florida that was convicted of the largest Medicare fraud case in history.


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