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Energy & Commerce Democrats Denounce Republicans’ Medicaid Proposal

Jun 22, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, all 23 Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats issued the following statement in response to a provision in Speaker Paul Ryan’s latest health care proposal that would cap federal Medicaid spending:

“Speaker Ryan’s per capita caps and block grant proposal is the latest Republican attempt to seriously undermine Medicaid’s ability to provide millions of Americans with health care coverage.  Since its inception, Medicaid has been a strong partnership between the states and the federal government. This latest attack on the program threatens that partnership by shifting costs onto states, forcing arbitrary cuts to health care benefits and coverage to seniors, children, and people with disabilities that would only increase over time. 

“The Republican plan would also jeopardize the successful Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, which is funding 90 percent of all expansion costs on a permanent basis.  This proposal would break that promise, potentially forcing states to drop health care coverage for millions of Americans.  

“Rather than recognizing how efficient, flexible and innovative the Medicaid system is today, Republicans are once again on an ideologically-driven quest to gut benefits and coverage for our most vulnerable. This is an irresponsible idea that would risk access to care for the more than 71 million Medicaid beneficiaries in America, and we stand united in opposition to this dangerous proposal.” 

Background on Republican Medicaid Proposal:

The federal government currently pays a fixed percentage of states’ total Medicaid costs.  Under the GOP’s proposal, the federal government would only pay up to a fixed amount per state or per beneficiary, leaving the state responsible for 100 percent of the costs above that level. The Republican plan will impose more costs onto states over time. Medicaid is already extremely efficient: per-beneficiary costs are below those in private insurance and have grown more slowly than private insurance and Medicare over the last decade. Rather than improving efficiency, the Republican proposal would deprive tens of millions of people who rely on Medicaid today of access to needed care, as states are forced to make cuts from the only place left—benefits and coverage.

Today, Medicaid’s flexible financing structure allows it to respond when states face unexpected demands on their Medicaid programs. Setting an arbitrary dollar cap on care today for the millions of low-income children, people with disabilities, elderly and vulnerable adults is likely to grossly underestimate emergent and future health care costs, and does not effectively address changing population demographics over time.

Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee: Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (IL-01), Communications and Technology Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Eliot Engel (NY-16), Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (TX-29), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (CO-01), Lois Capps (CA-24), Michael Doyle (PA-14), Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Ranking Member Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Doris Matsui (CA-06), Kathy Castor (FL-14), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jerry McNerney (CA-09), Peter Welch (VT-00), Ben Ray Luján (NM-03), Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Tonko (NY-20), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Yvette D. Clark (NY-09), David Loebsack (IA-02), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), Joseph Kennedy III (MA-04), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29).