The fiscal 2012 budget proposal unveiled today by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) offers sweeping reforms in federal spending, including defunding and repealing the health-care law signed last year by President Barack Obama and converting the federal share of the Medicaid program into block grants to state governments.
The Republican proposal says one of its aims is "making sure that not a penny goes toward implementing the new [health care] law" enacted last year.
This includes repealing about $800 billion in new taxes that were built into the law.
The proposed Republican budget resolution lists as one of its "key objectives" that it "Repeals and defunds the President's health care law, advancing instead common-sense solutions focused on lowering costs, expanding access and protecting the doctor-patient relationship."
"There is no way for 'experts' in Washington to know more about the health care needs of individual Americans than those individuals and their doctors know," says the proposal. "The new health-care law, rammed through Congress last year on a partisan vote, has taken the nation one step closer to this fully government-run system.
"The problems with this approach are already popping up all over the country," says the proposal. "Health care costs continue to escalate relentlessly. The new law has aggravated the worst aspects of the U.S. health care system, without fixing what was broken. The country needs to move away from this centralized system, not towards it.
"This budget starts by repealing the costly new government-run health care law, saving roughly $725 billion over ten years by repealing the new exchange subsidies and making sure that not a penny goes toward implementing the new law," says the resolution. "Then, this budget goes further with reforms that make government health-care programs more responsive to consumer choice."
On the health-care tax front, the resolution says: "The health-care law enacted last year contained roughly $800 billion in new taxes and tax increases--the result of dozens of changes to tax law that added complexity and unfairness to the code." The proposal calls for repealing all of these new taxes and tax increases as part of repealing the entirety of the Obamacare law.
One of the new health-care reforms proposed by the GOP budget is converting the federal share of Medicaid—the federal-state program that provides health insurance to low-income people—into block grants to state governments.
The proposal says the GOP budget aims to: "Secure the Medicaid benefit by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant tailored to meet each state's needs, indexed for inflation and population growth. This reform ends the misguided one-size-fits-all approach that has tied the hands of so many state governments. States will no longer be shackled by federally determined program requirements and enrollment criteria. Instead, they will have the freedom and flexibility to tailor a Medicaid program that fits the needs of their unique populations."
The GOP budget proposal notes that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, federal Medicaid spending would increase by $627 billion over the next decade under Obamacare, which increases the number of people eligible for the program.