House Passes Budget Plan

The House of Representatives voted (226-197) on Thursday, April 30, to approve a compromise concurrent budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 11) which lays out a budget plan for the Committees to fund programs for Fiscal Year 2016.  The resolution maintains the statutory caps on discretionary funding such as funding for education, housing, transportation, and other programs.  It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act.  In addition, the resolution could result in permanent cuts and elimination of the entitlement to services in the Medicaid program –  which provides the bulk of long term supports and services (LTSS), including home and community-based services (HCBS), and many employment supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

The concurrent budget resolution would require that the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Finance Committee find at least $1 billion in savings in programs under their jurisdiction.  The resolution does not specify which programs must be cut to reach the $1 billion.  However, authorization of these cuts allows fundamental changes to the structure of the Medicaid program in order to achieve these savings.  Structural changes to Medicaid are likely to include block grants to the states and reductions in eligibility and services.  Furthermore, the cuts could be much greater than $1 billion or the Congress could proceed with more extensive cuts in future years once the Medicaid structural changes are in place.

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