North Carolina may not have a member on the so-called Congressional “super committee” tasked to come up with a plan for reducing the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next ten years, but we sure have a vested interest in what these 12 members of Congress decide. And the decisions will be made quickly – by November 23rd! Think that what this committee does will have little effect on NC? Think again:
1. The budget deal that created this “super committee” already included nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts that have already passed Congress – so billions in federal cuts have already happened.
2. A responsible plan from the “super committee” must include revenue increases along with any more proposed spending cuts. Protecting tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country – like the lower tax rate on income from capital gains than on income from wages – while requiring children, seniors, people with disabilities and ordinary families to bear the brunt of benefit cuts would be ridiculous.
3. Deficit reduction must not mean cutting Medicaid. This would be devastating to North Carolinians who rely on Medicaid for health care. It would mean cutting health care access for thousands of NC’s children, denying care to seniors in nursing homes, and taking away the ability of people with serious disabilities to live in their homes and their communities.
4. Proposals shouldn’t just shift costs to North Carolina. Right now in Washington there is talk of a state “blended rate” for Medicaid that would save the federal government millions. All this really means is that the federal government would give the states less money for their Medicaid programs – making it necessary for NC to reduce access to care and charge more to families.
5. The only fair and effective way to control Medicaid spending is to control OVERALL health costs. The NC Medicaid program, through its community care health care coordination program, has done a far better job at controlling health costs than the private sector, saving nearly $1.5 billion in health care costs for NC just since 2007. Applying those methods to the private sector can result in cost savings while improving care for everyone.
Want to keep up with the antics of the “super committee”? We’ll be covering it here in NC and FamiliesUSA has a great site devoted just to the committee.