Statement on the Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate of the Better Care Reconciliation Act
by Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center
New York, NY— Today’s Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report makes it clear: a handful of Senators working in secret back rooms cannot write a bill that works for American families. The Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA)—the Senate leadership’s amended version of the House-passed health care package—would yank coverage out from under 22 million people, restrict access to needed care, and hike health care costs most significantly for the oldest and sickest among us.
The BCRA’s $772 billion in cuts to Medicaid over the first 10 years will end the program as we know it, risking access to home and community-based services, nursing home care, and other essential services, including for the one in five (11 million) older adults and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare who also rely on Medicaid. The bill then goes on to slash the program even more deeply after 10 years. As our nation grows older and becomes increasingly reliant on Medicaid, cuts of this magnitude can only be described as heartless.
CBO also estimates that the BCRA will increase Medicare spending by $58 billion over 10 years. An independent analysis finds that lost revenues to the Medicare Hospital Insurance (Part A) Trust Fund could deplete the Trust Fund’s reserves two years earlier than anticipated, effectively undermining the Medicare program’s fiscal health and opening the door to benefit cuts in the future.
We urge every Senator to reject this harmful, misguided bill and engage in a bipartisan, transparent dialogue on needed health reforms to enhance access and affordability. The health—indeed the very lives—of our nation’s older adults, people with disabilities, and their families are depending on it.
For more information on the Medicare program and proposals under consideration to change it, visit the Medicare Rights Center’s “Protect and Strengthen” webpage at www.medicarerights.org/protect.
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