On January 1, 2013, Congress agreed to a deal offered by the White House that averted the so-called ‘fiscal cliff.’ The agreement, passed into law as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, did not include feared cuts to social programs. However, new budget negotiations and the debt ceiling increase are right around the corner. Once again, Republicans are expected to call for Medicaid cuts as part of both processes. Read this briefing paper from Families USA to learn more about this critical upcoming issue and find out what you can do to be prepared.
It’s important for advocates to keep reminding
their representatives in Congress that Medicaid is a critical program and should not be cut.
Here’s a quick overview of where we are now.
What happens next?
Congress and the White House will still want to avoid the automatic spending cuts that
are now scheduled to take place in March, but to do that without increasing the deficit,
they will need to increase revenue or cut spending.
At the same time, the government’s debt ceiling will need to be raised in February or
March. It was congressional refusal to raise the debt ceiling in 2011—and the threat of
a U.S. default on its obligations—that forced the budget negotiations that gave us the
automatic cuts we are facing now. Until 2011, Congress routinely raised the debt limit
when needed, without lengthy debate.
As Congress faces these two deadlines, Republicans will undoubtedly call for cuts to
Medicaid, changes to the program’s structure, or both, in exchange for avoiding automatic
spending cuts or agreeing to raise the debt ceiling. As we look ahead, Medicaid is not even close to being out of the woods.
What Advocates Need to Do
For the next two months, advocates need to remind their representatives in Congress that
Medicaid is a critical program that should NOT be cut.
Our message remains the same.
Additional resources:Families USA’s Medicaid Defense Center http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/medicaid/ defense-center/ http://www.familiesusa.org/issues/medicaid/defense-center/medicaid-and-the-deficit.html