House Republican budget would slash Medicare and Medicaid, Social Security Disability insurance

The ironically titled 2019 House Republican budget, “A Brighter American Future,” may brighten the spirits of the GOP’s rich and powerful donors, but serves as a gloomy portent for millions of less affluent Americans. The budget resolution released Tuesday would cut $537 billion from Medicare and $1.5 trillion from Medicaid and other health programs.  It would slash $4 billion from Social Security Disability Insurance and repeal the Affordable Care Act, robbing 23 million Americans of health coverage.

“Speaker Ryan is obviously making good on his promise to come after safety net programs to pay for the reckless Trump/GOP tax reform.  In so doing, he and his party are sending a clear message:  older, poorer, and disabled Americans are not as important as the billionaires and big corporations who are the main beneficiaries of a tax scheme that is blowing up our nation’s debt.” – Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities reports, the GOP proposal would “balance the budget in nine years — but only by making large cuts to [programs] that President Trump vowed not to touch, including Medicare and Social Security.”

House Republicans apparently want to have it both ways:  swelling the debt by $1.5 trillion with the reckless Trump/GOP tax scheme, then crying that deficits are too large – and insisting that crucial social programs must be cut to close the gap.

“The time is now for our Congress to step up and confront the biggest challenge to our society.  There is not a bigger enemy on the domestic side than the debt and deficits.” – House Budget Committee Chairman Steve Womack (R-AR)

This is like opening the city’s fire hydrants and declaring that we must ‘confront’ the massive depletion of water reserves by asking the poor and elderly to go thirsty.

Democrats rightly decried the House GOP budget proposal as not only hypocritical, but needlessly cruel.

“Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to health care, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families.” – Rep. John Yarmouth (D-KY)

Adding insult to injury, the Republican budget reprises the conservative scheme to privatize Medicare.  This flies in the face of fiscal common sense, as traditional Medicare is by far more efficient than the private sector in delivering health care.   Public polling indicates that the American people, by margins of more than two to one, do not want to see traditional Medicare privatized.

Fortunately, Capitol Hill-watchers say the 2019 House GOP Budget proposal is unlikely to pass this year.

[The] proposal faces long odds in the House, let alone the Senate, where moderates have balked at previous calls to rein in so-called ‘entitlement programs.’ Republican leaders in either chamber have shown little interest in pursuing a ‘reform’ agenda in an already tough election year. – Politico, 6/19/18

But if the GOP budget is merely a ‘messaging bill’ intended for symbolic value rather than passage during the 115th Congress, the message it sends could not be clearer – neither are the stakes for anyone who is not a billionaire or a big corporation when voting this November.