CBO: Medicaid Cuts Will Really Snowball Down the Road Under Senate Health-Care Bill

If you think the Better Care Reconciliation Act would affect Medicaid beneficiaries badly right now, just wait until the 2030s. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

As if CBO didn’t cause enough problems for Mitch McConnell with its “score” of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 earlier this week — the nonpartisan green eyeshades came back today with an addendum dealing with the bill’s long-term impact on Medicaid, apparently requested by Democrats on the Senate Budget and Finance Committees:

In CBO’s assessment, Medicaid spending under the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 would be 26 percent lower in 2026 than it would be under the agency’s extended baseline, and the gap would widen to about 35 percent in 2036.

So that means a cut of more than one-third of Medicaid expenditures in the extended projection — and that’s without the additional Medicaid cuts congressional Republicans are likely to pursue during the budget deliberations that will soon accompany their drive for big tax cuts.

This is important to understand, because part of the devil’s bargain that is fundamental to BCRA is to ask conservatives for some short-term accommodations of Obamacare provisions in exchange for long-term and permanent tax and Medicaid cuts that really have nothing to do with repealing or replacing the Affordable Care Act. The payoff will only grow as time goes by, and particularly as baby-boomers enter the later, most expensive years of retirement.

CBO: Senate Bill’s Medicaid Cuts Will Snowball Down the Road