Ryan's Medicaid Proposals Emerge As Campaign Issue

News outlets report that the changes to Medicaid proposed by likely GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan would have immediate and far-reaching consequences for millions of people, including poor seniors.

The Washington Post: Medicaid Shapes Up As Major Battleground
Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his running mate has reignited a debate over the future of Medicare. But Ryan's proposed cuts to Medicaid, the other huge federal health program, could have quicker and more far-reaching consequences, with the potential to dramatically affect state budgets and health care for millions of people (Somashekhar, 8/14).

Kaiser Health News: FAQ: Ryan's Plan Would Make Key Changes In Medicaid, Too
Under Ryan’s plan, the federal share of Medicaid spending would become a block grant indexed for inflation and population growth. States would have more flexibility over who is covered and what benefits are offered. ... Opponents of Ryan's plan say it would lead states to reduce enrollment, cut benefits or require more cost-sharing from beneficiaries (Carey, 8/14).

The Associated Press: The Other Paul Ryan Plan: $800B In Medicaid Cuts
Rep. Paul Ryan's plan for Medicare gets all the attention, but the GOP vice presidential candidate has proposed more fundamental changes to medical care for the poor and disabled. Under the Wisconsin congressman's Medicaid plan, states would take over the program. Simultaneously, Ryan's proposed budget would reduce projected federal spending by about $800 billion over 10 years, shrinking Medicaid as a share of the overall national economy. The plan has passed the Republican-led House two years in a row (Zaldivar, 8/15).

Bloomberg: Medicaid Cuts Ryan Doesn't Tout Would Limit Aid To Poor Seniors
Paul Ryan's plan to overhaul Medicare wouldn't affect today's seniors. His Medicaid proposal would.  While the Republican vice-presidential candidate is careful to avoid touching Medicare benefits for anyone at or near retirement, his budget would impose immediate cuts to Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor that funds nursing-home care and other benefits for 6 million U.S. seniors. "It's very easy to forget about these people," said Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute, a Washington-based policy research group. "It's a big, big cut" (Faler, 8/14).

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