As expected, on March 29, the House voted to pass the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution. The measure passed by a vote of 228-191. This plan for federal spending and revenue would be very harmful for people with disabilities as mandatory programs that people with disabilities rely on (Medicaid, Medicare) would be significantly cut and/or restructured, funding for critical discretionary programs (such as housing, education, employment, and transportation) would be slashed, and the health care reform law would be repealed. Specifically:
- Medicaid would be cut by $810 billion over 10 years (a 33% cut by 2021), converted to a block grant, and all “dual eligibles” would be placed entirely in the Medicare program.
- Medicare would be converted to a “premium support program” by offering vouchers to purchase private insurance or the traditional Medicare program starting in FY 2023 for new beneficiaries. This would end the Medicare guarantee and raise health care costs for people with disabilities and seniors.
- Non-defense discretionary programs would be cut by $800 billion below the amount of the automatic spending cuts from the Budget Control Act (an approximate cut of 9%).
- Social Security reforms to provide solvency over the next 75 years would be considered under an expedited Congressional process, as opposed to normal deliberation.
Several alternatives to the FY 2013 House Budget Resolution introduced as amendments were defeated. These included the more austere plan developed by the Republican Study Committee that contained even steeper cuts in spending and a plan developed by the House Progressive Caucus which called for more investments in spending and raising revenue to help reduce the deficit.
The Senate, however, is not likely to vote on a FY 2013 Budget Resolution because the Budget Control Act already set spending caps for FY 2012 to 2021. Therefore, with different target levels set for spending, House and Senate differences may not be resolved until after a post-election “lame duck” session of Congress is convened.