Font Size
    • Share to Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Email
    • Print

On February 2, 2015, President Obama submitted his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget to Congress. For seniors, there is good news and bad news in some of the key proposals which are summarized below. In addition to the National Committee’s long-standing opposition to any benefit cuts, we will vigorously support proposals that enhance benefits, strengthen safety net programs and improve the quality of life for older Americans and their families.  Some of the more significant proposals, including the National Committee’s positions, are detailed in our budget analysis.      

Medicaid is a lifeline to over 68 million low-income Americans, providing health insurance, assistance with Medicare premiums, long-term services and supports, and financial aid to safety net hospitals and health centers.  Seniors, people with disabilities, and many from communities of color rely heavily on Medicaid benefits to survive.  Despite Medicaid’s importance to our nation’s most vulnerable members of society, some policymakers want to cut Medicaid funding by imposing a “per capita cap” or “block grant” system.  

As the new 114th Congress begins its work, we've detailed a myriad of legislative priorities which would continue to build and strengthen Social Security and Medicare's historic legacy for current and future beneficiaries. 

The U.S. House of Representatives approved Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2015 would destroy the current Medicaid program and slash benefits for low-income individuals. Led by Budget Committee Chair, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), H. Con. Res. 96 would make major cuts to Medicaid funding and repeal the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These changes would be detrimental to seniors and others who rely on Medicaid by potentially jeopardizing their access to nursing homes and long-term services and supports (LTSS), rationing health benefits, and affecting low-income seniors' ability to pay for Medicare benefits. 

The House Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2015, H. Con. Res. 96, introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), was passed by the House of Representatives  on April 10, 2014.  The budget proposes drastic cuts in federal spending for programs of importance to most low- and middle-income Americans while proposing tax breaks to benefit the very wealthy and large profitable corporations.  This paper summarizes some of the key proposals in the House Republican FY 2015 budget that would affect seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 

Medicaid provides public health insurance to seniors, people with disabilities and children with low incomes.  Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), beginning in 2014, states can receive generous federal funding to expand Medicaid coverage to uninsured adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (about $27,000 for a family of three).  Currently, about half of the states plan to pursue Medicaid expansion, while the others are currently declining or are undecided.  States should be encouraged to expand their Medicaid programs, which would benefit low-income adults, hospitals, and local economies.

In May 2013, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.) released a report, Making Medicaid Work, which included a proposal to change federal Medicaid funding to a “per capita cap” system.  Under this plan, the federal government would no longer cover a fixed share of each state’s overall Medicaid costs, and, instead, would provide a specific dollar amount for each beneficiary, divided into four groups -- aged, blind and disabled, children, and adults. 

Hispanic-Americans, the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, are likely to have more chronic or serious health conditions than White Americans yet face several barriers in accessing health care coverage.  The guaranteed health coverage offered by Medicare and Medicaid is, therefore, especially important to the Hispanic community and they have a huge stake in protecting, improving and strengthening Medicare and Medicaid.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has endorsed the Medicare Drug Savings Act (S. 740, H.R. 1588), introduced by Senator Rockefeller and Representative Waxman.  This legislation would require drug manufacturers to pay rebates for the drugs used by individuals who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and for people receiving the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS).  Drug manufacturers provided rebates for the dual eligible population prior to the enactment of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, which established the Medicare Part D drug benefit.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that this bill would save $141 billion over 10 years. 

Established in 1965, Medicaid is the largest public health insurance program in the United States, covering over 60 million people (1 in 5 Americans). Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to multiple low-income populations, assistance to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, long-term services and supports (LTSS) to seniors and people with disabilities and support to safety net hospitals and health centers.

Subscribe e-Alerts
  Email Address:  
  First Name:  
  Last Name:  

Read Our Blog

Congress Trades Bad Deal for Doctors for Bad Deal for Seniors in Medicare

The House has passed the so-called "doc fix" legislation replacing the flawed reimbursement formula Congress itself created years ago to cut pay to doctors... ...

Read More


Medicare's Top 10


Copyright © 2015 by NCPSSM
Login  |