Republican budget would decimate Medicare and Medicaid

The GOP doesn't need to repeal Obamacare to slash safety net funding.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, heads to a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn, and members of the Senate Budget Committee. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, heads to a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump's top economic adviser Gary Cohn, and members of the Senate Budget Committee. CREDIT: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Republicans may have moved on from trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but they’re still trying to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding by more than $1 trillion over the next decade, according to a new report prepared by the Senate Budget Committee minority staff led by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

The budget would cut $1 trillion from Medicaid and $473 billion from Medicare over the next decade, HuffPost reporter Jennifer Bendery tweeted Tuesday, which she said she confirmed with Democratic leadership. Politico published the report from budget committee minority staff Wednesday morning.

“The budget would make it harder for children to get a decent education, harder for families to get the health care they desperately need, harder for families to put food on the table, harder to protect our environment and harder for the elderly to live their retirement years in dignity,” the authors of the report write.

Senate Republicans unveiled their fiscal year 2018 budget resolution last week, but the details of the cuts have not been outlined in any public documents released so far.

The budget proposal, which needs to be marked up and reconciled with the House budget, would be a break from one of President Trump’s central campaign promises: No cuts to Medicaid or Medicare.

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” Trump tweeted in May 2015. “Huckabee copied me.”

In October 2015, Trump again tweeted, “I am going to save Medicare and Medicaid, Carson wants to abolish, and failing candidate Gov. John Kasich doesn’t have a clue – weak!”

According to the minority staff budget committee report, the Republican budget would make other cuts to safety net programs, as well. The report outlines specific cuts to housing, heating, and nutrition assistance, Pell Grant funding, Head Start services, and transportation and National Institutes of Health funding. It would also make federal student loans more expensive.

The cuts, according to the report, would add up to $5 trillion over the next 10 years.

“Meanwhile, at a time when the U.S. already spends more on defense than the next 12 countries combined,” the report says, “the Republican budget lays the groundwork for an increase of $91 billion to the Pentagon for Fiscal Year 2018 alone – more than enough to provide free tuition at every public college and university in America.”

The report also says the budget cuts “hundreds of billions of dollars” in Affordable Care Act tax credits and “makes it easier for Republicans to repeal Obamacare,” but does not offer specifics.