Now that President Obama and congressional Republicans have come to an agreement over the 2011 budget (which will fund the government from now until September), the battle over the 2012 budget (which will fund the government from September 2011 to September 2012) is starting to heat up. Earlier this week, we wrote about the Republican Party’s 2012 budget proposal. In particular, we highlighted their plan to end Medicare and push seniors into the private insurance market. Unfortunately that proposal is just one of the many awful ideas contained in the GOP’s budget.
The GOP budget would also completely torpedo the health care reform bill that President Obama signed into law just last year. The proposal would repeal the new consumer protections that were a major part of health reform, including:
- No more turning people away for pre-existing conditions
- Guaranteed coverage of essential benefits, including preventative care
- No more lifetime or annual limits on benefits
The GOP budget would also repeal the subsidies that would have allowed 94% of Americans to afford comprehensive health insurance by 2016.
Another proposal that’s been gaining popularity with conservatives for the past few months: turning Medicaid into a block program. Currently Medicaid costs are shared between the federal and state governments. When Medicaid costs go up (such as during a recession when many people are out of work) states aren’t required to pay the whole amount themselves. Under the proposed 2012 GOP budget, the federal government would send each state a block of money every year to cover low income families. They would be under no obligation to provide coverage or maintain benefit levels. As we’ve discussed earlier on this blog, this proposal would take away the insurance of millions of low income children and families while burdening states with rising health care costs and costing our economy millions of jobs. Even Republicans publicly admit this proposal would lead to low income families being thrown off Medicaid rolls.
The Washington Post has a good list of the other GOP proposals here which includes repealing new financial regulations, cutting income taxes for the wealthiest Americans over and above the Bush tax cuts and cutting taxes for corporations. If you’re a millionaire, a bank, or a large corporation this bill should make you extremely happy. For everyone else it’s a disaster. This bill will, piece by piece, dismantle our health care system while it increases the deficit over the next 10 years, radically lowers taxes on the rich and corporations, raises taxes on the middle class, forces seniors to pay more for less health care, and causes 32 million Americans to lose their health insurance.