Republicans in the House are moving forward with their budget plan, and it calls for tremendous cuts to food stamps and other social safety net programs, as well as turning Medicare into a voucher-like program, which would be a complete overhaul of the program.
Republican leaders say the $4 trillion budget plan will move the government from a $472 billion deficit in 2018 to a $9 billion budget surplus by 2027, but that’s assuming a 2.6% rate of economic growth, much larger than even the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s estimates which peg growth at 1.9%.
In order to get these numbers, they’re proposing slashing $500 billion from Medicare, $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, and enormous cuts to federal employee pensions, food stamps and tax credits for the working poor.
If Medicare is turned into a voucher system, which Republicans have been trying to do for some time now, it will essentially force seniors to pay out-of-pocket for their own healthcare. While vouchers would pay for some of the costs, it would get rid of the single-payer system retirees have relied on to cover the majority of their healthcare costs.
Right now it’s unclear how much those vouchers or “premium support” as Speaker Ryan puts it, will be. That means if you receive a voucher and it’s not enough to cover the costs of private insurance, tough luck.
The Republican budget also calls for $622 billion in defense spending as well as another $511 billion in nondefense discretionary spending in 2018.
Since the budget isn’t finalized yet, it’s still possible for different levels of spending to be passed but conservatives say they want even deep cuts while moderates say it goes too far.
The budget plan also proposes to overhaul the U.S. tax code and is essential for Republicans to avoid a Democratic filibuster in the Senate.