by Alex Sange, MPP
Last week, after two months of private and public meetings, Supercommittee Democrats and Republicans both floated initial proposals for how the group might reach their target of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23rd. Although actual, substantive details of the two proposals are extremely limited, press accounts indicate that there is still a lot of space between the parties’ first offerings. Much of what hangs in the balance comes down to whether, and to what extent, revenues (such as taxes) might be a part of the final deal. In addition these two proposals are simply markers, as they have NOT been endorsed or even supported by all six of the Supercommittee members of each party affiliation.
The proposal from the Democrats’ side, put forward by Senator Max Baucus (MT), is reported to include nearly $3 trillion in savings over 10 years – well above the committee’s target of $1.2 trillion. According to the press, the proposal is a mix of revenues and spending and includes $400-500 billion in savings from Medicare and Medicaid, although the policy-breakdown of these numbers has not been made public. Additional savings are found on the discretionary side, including from defense spending, and the proposal also includes a reported $200-300 billion in additional economic stimulus spending and about $1 trillion in new revenue.
The proposal from the Republicans on the Supercommittee would reportedly find about $2 trillion in savings, with significantly less coming from revenues and tax increases than the proposal from the other side of the aisle. According to the press, Republicans proposed about $400 billion in cuts to Medicare and $185 billion in Medicaid cuts, with additional discretionary cuts to other health and benefit programs, not specifically identified. Republicans proposed a modest revenue increase linked to a change in the Consumer Price Index and oppose the economic stimulus spending proposed by the Democrats. Again, the policy specifics on how they propose to cut $185 billion from Medicaid, for example, have not been made public.
With major issues still to grapple with, Supercommittee members have a tough month ahead – filled with intense negotiations and a deal by Thanksgiving. Here at NACHC, we’re working hard to make sure health centers and our patients are protected throughout this process, so stay tuned to the blog for the latest updates.
What were the specific Medicare and Social Security cuts? SS does not contribute to the deficit and should not even be on the table, but I could easily find $400b in Medicare cuts. Details do matter!
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