WASHINGTON - February 1 - The following is the statement of Ron Pollack, Executive Director of Families USA, regarding the passage of the Budget Reconciliation bill in the U.S. House of Representatives:
“The draconian cuts to the Medicaid program that were passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier today will cause tremendous hardship for millions of low-income seniors, children, and people with disabilities. Those depending on Medicaid as their health care safety net will see a significant increase in their out-of-pocket expenses and, in exchange will receive even fewer benefits. To make matters worse, many of them will completely lose all access to Medicaid for their health care services.
“What makes this particular reconciliation package so insidious is that the House and Senate leadership are saying it needs to be done in the name of fiscal discipline and deficit reduction. However, Congress is poised to enact a massive tax cut bill that primarily favors the wealthy and ultimately dwarfs the size of this spending cut package. So, instead of reducing the size of the deficit, the net result of the budget and tax bills will be to add tens of billions of dollars to our already massive deficit.
“To make matters worse, the scope of this budget bill is very different from what the Senate originally approved late last year. The original Senate bill would have improved the cost-effectiveness of the Medicare and Medicaid programs through the elimination of big windfalls to the drug and insurance industries. Unfortunately, through closed-door deals in the conference committee, these laudable proposals were dropped, and Medicaid beneficiaries were instead targeted as the ones to absorb these massive cuts.
“It is wrong to balance another round of massive tax cuts for the rich on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens, especially when the resulting cuts will make needed health care unavailable.”