The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a federal budget for 2018 that calls for more than $5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years to multiple important programs that help communities and working families all across America.
It also contains the latest in a series of backdoor approaches to reduce health insurance coverage for millions of Americans by proposing deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare after the attempted repeal of the Affordable Healthcare Act was not successful. Instead of working on ways to stabilize health-insurance markets congressional leaders are now directly attempting to disrupt health care by cutting effective health care program budgets that have previously received bipartisan support and helped millions of Americans for over 50 years.
The House passed budget cuts Medicaid by $1 trillion and Medicare by more than $470 billion over the next 10 years. Medicaid provides health coverage to eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and people with disabilities, while Medicare serves individuals 65 or older and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).
These drastic budget cuts mean more than two million North Carolinians enrolled in Medicaid and the 1.2 million enrolled in Medicare, as well as those that could qualify in the coming years, would be affected by eliminated and reduced services. Additionally, North Carolina’s own budget would also be affected as Congress plans to shift massive costs to the states.
So what happens next? The U.S. Senate is planning to pass its own version of the federal budget as early as next week. In the meantime, it will be important for North Carolina’s congressional delegation to stand up for our health and well-being back home. Taken together, the House passed budget and the tax plan recently proposed by President Trump would do the very opposite by reducing federal revenue by $2.4 trillion, increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion, and giving 67 percent of the tax cuts to the richest 1 percent of Americans in 2018.
Luis A. Toledo is a Public Policy Analyst for the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center.