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This week at CBPP, we focused on health care, the federal budget and taxes, and food assistance.

  • On health care, Robert Greenstein explained that the House Republican health bill would likely represent the greatest assault on modest-income Americans of any law in modern times. Edwin Park, Judith Solomon, and Hannah Katch warned that the updated bill deepens damaging Medicaid cuts for low-income individuals and families, and Aviva Aron-Dine and Tara Straw pointed out that the updated bill still cuts tax credits, raising costs significantly for millions of people. Aron-Dine noted that tax credit changes wouldn’t close the House bill’s massive affordability gaps. Katch listed four ways in which the bill would harm people with mental illness and substance use disorders, and Solomon explained why adding $15 billion to the House bill’s Stability Fund wouldn’t address this problem. Solomon also called out false claims that the Medicaid expansion is causing waiting lists.  We posted an explainer outlining the essential health benefits that are under threat in the House bill.

    Also on health care, Sarah Lueck cautioned that removing essential health benefits would lead to skimpy individual-market coverage and warned that the pre-Affordable Care Act insurance market isn’t worth returning to. Edwin Park cited past examples to show how ending essential health benefits would likely promote fraud and abuse. Jacob Leibenluft noted that the Republicans’ health agenda would undercut their vow to let states set essential health benefits. Lueck also showed how cost-sharing subsidies that reduce deductibles, co-payments, and other out-of-pocket costs for marketplace enrollees are at risk under the House health bill. Jesse Cross-Call looked closely at several states that would experience large Medicaid cost shifts and coverage losses, and our fact sheets provided state-by-state data on how much more states would have to spend to maintain their Medicaid programs under the bill. Cross-Call and Aron-Dine also demonstrated why Alaska would suffer the most harm under the plan. Matt Broaddus detailed how the aging of baby boomers would likely exacerbate the federal Medicaid spending cuts in the House bill over the long run.

    In addition, Paul Van de Water noted that the GOP health plan would accelerate the depletion of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund. He also argued that lowering the medical expense deduction threshold would do little to help taxpayers facing high premiums and clarified that the health plan would raise premiums, not lower them.

  • On the federal budget and taxes, Chye-Ching Huang, Chuck Marr, and Emily Horton explained how the GOP health plan’s elimination of two Medicare taxes would deliver very large tax cuts to the wealthy. Huang also outlined how the tax cuts for the wealthy in the health bill would allow Republicans to make much deeper cuts in corporate tax rates in subsequent tax legislation, and she pointed to resources to help understand how the tax cuts would harm health coverage and benefit high-income earners and corporations. Brandon DeBot showed why the GOP’s proposed health bill fix prioritized tax cuts for the wealthy.

  • On food assistance, Ed Bolen and Stacy Dean explained how waivers add state flexibility to SNAP’s (formerly food stamps) three-month time limit for unemployed adults not raising children. Our interactive map and infographic illustrated where states have requested time limit waivers in areas of high unemployment.

Chart of the week: Even With Tax Credit Increase for Older Consumers, Total Consumer Costs Would Rise Sharply Under House GOP Bill

A variety of news outlets featured CBPP’s work and experts recently. Here are some highlights:

The Trouble With Medicaid Work Requirements
The Atlantic
March 23, 2017

Republicans Want to Repeal Medicaid, Too
March 22, 2017

GOP health-care plan analyses: Higher deductibles, more uninsured and millionaire tax breaks
Washington Post
March 22, 2017

Republicans are making the American Health Care Act even crueler to Medicaid recipients
March 21, 2017

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