June 29, 2017

President Donald Trump’s tweets typically don’t get into wonky policy, but he broke from that tradition on Wednesday in support of the Senate’s health care bill, tweeting out a chart showing how Medicaid spending would rise over the years.

The Better Care Reconciliation Act, as the Senate’s bill is called, contains an estimated $772 billion in Medicaid cuts through 2026, as well as a change in the funding formula that will sharply decrease spending beyond that point. Critics fear these deep cuts will jeopardize care for the roughly 73 million Americans on Medicaid, which include low-income workers, adults with disabilities, special needs children, and elderly people who have exhausted their assets and need long-term care.

Medicaid spending will indeed increase over time under the Better Care Reconciliation Act, but that’s because more people will be on the program — for starters, Medicaid funds certain long-term care, and the number of elderly Americans is projected to more than double by 2060, to more than 98 million — and also because the cost of health care continues to mount. It’s not because the legislation increases Medicaid funding; it does just the opposite. Spending would rise at a higher rate under current law, as Vox illustrated.

 

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