This week on Off the Charts, we focused on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, state budgets, health policy, and low-income housing policy.
On the Ryan budget, we featured Robert Greenstein’s statement on the plan, showed that it would eliminate most of the federal government aside from Social Security, health care, and defense over time, and noted that low-income programs would bear the brunt of its cuts.
Richard Kogan demonstrated that the Ryan budget bears little resemblance to last summer’s bipartisan Budget Control Act, and Jim Horney cautioned that the Ryan budget’s large cut in certain mandatory (entitlement) programs would have a serious impact on safety-net programs.
LaDonna Pavetti rebutted Chairman Ryan’s claim that welfare reform should be a model for changes to other low-income programs, and Dottie Rosenbaum noted that millions of people would lose part or all of their SNAP (food stamp) benefits under the Ryan plan.
Paul Van de Water explained that converting Medicare to a premium support system would harm beneficiaries and produce few savings, while Edwin Park exploded the myth that the Medicare drug benefit’s lower-than-expected costs show that adopting premium support would produce savings.
Park also explained that the Ryan budget’s Medicaid changes would reduce or eliminate health coverage for millions.
We also posted a roundup of all of our Ryan-related analyses from the week.
On state budgets, Erica Williams pointed out that states considering eliminating most or all of their income taxes would have to pay for those cuts by raising other taxes and/or cutting public services.
On health policy, Shannon Spillane highlighted health reform’s achievements of its first two years. Edwin Park explained that the latest Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates on health reform’s impact on health coverage and the budget reflect no big changes.
We also featured Paul Van de Water’s media conference call with former Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag and economist Uwe Reinhardt on health reform’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
On low-incomehousing policy, Barbara Sard noted that the President’s budget would raise rents on half a million of the nation’s poorest families.