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Proposed Senate Point of Order Would Limit Health Care Proposals in Budget Reconciliation

Aug 1, 2018 | Health Care

For Immediate Release

Today, 12 senators introduced a proposal that would establish a new Senate point of order to restrict the types of changes that could be made to Medicare and Medicaid in any budget reconciliation legislation. The point of order would restrict raising the age of Medicare eligibility, reducing Medicaid payments to states, block granting Medicaid to the states, and moving Medicare to a system of premium support.

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said the following:

Restricting changes to Medicare and Medicaid under reconciliation is a really bad idea for anyone who cares about thoughtful budgeting, smart health policy, good governance, or fiscal responsibility. Federal health spending is the largest part of the budget, and virtually everyone knows its cost growth needs to be brought under control.

Proposals like this make it more difficult to place these important and vital programs on a sustainable fiscal footing. Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund is headed for insolvency in 2026 and will need health savings, additional revenue, or both to remain solvent. This legislation also creates a slippery slope that would open the door for further restrictions of consideration of other revenue or spending options.

Rather than neutering reconciliation, policymakers should be strengthening it by re-instating the “Conrad rule” to require that this tool is only used for deficit reduction. And they should pass a budget with reconciliation instructions to both reduce low-priority spending and restore revenue lost from the recent tax bill.

Anyone that cares about fiscal responsibility, health policy, or budgeting should reject this new point of order proposal outright.

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For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.