GOP health-care bill would reduce Medicaid spending by 35% in 2036 relative to Obamacare: CBO

Key Points
  • The Congressional Budget Office projects Medicaid spending would be 35 percent lower in 2036 under the Senate health-care plan than under current law.
  • The rollback of Obamacare's Medicaid expansion is one of the sticking points in Republican health-care negotiations.
CBO now estimates Medicaid spending will fall 35%

Medicaid spending under the Senate's Obamacare replacement plan would be 35 percent lower than under current law in 2036, according to a Congressional Budget Office estimate released Thursday.

The report was released following a separate CBO score on the GOP plan that estimated the bill's effects through 2026. The rollback of Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid, a joint federal and state program that provides health care to low-income Americans, is one of the sticking points in Senate Republican disagreements over the plan.

The CBO previously said that the bill would lead to 15 million fewer people covered by Medicaid in 2026.

Under current law, the CBO expects Medicaid spending would grow at a 5.1 percent per year rate for the next two decades. With the Senate plan, it would rise by 1.9 percent percent per year through 2026 and 3.5 percent per year in the decade after that, according to the CBO projections.

Medicaid spending would make up about 2.4 percent of GDP in 2036 under Obamacare, the CBO said. The Senate bill would reduce that figure to 1.6 percent of GDP.

The CBO noted that "projecting federal spending on Medicaid" beyond 2026 "becomes increasingly difficult because of the considerable uncertainties involved."

In a statement following the report's release, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that "rather than pushing a partisan bill that cuts taxes for the rich and slashes Medicaid," Republicans should "start over" and "work with Democrats" to improve the health-care system.

Supporters of the plan have fought the characterization of Medicaid "cuts," because spending still technically rises under the Senate plan. However, the CBO estimates that Medicaid spending would be significantly lower than it is under current law.

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