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The Budget Deal & Healthcare

by Countable | 2.9.18

What's the story?

The spending deal approved by Congress in the wee hours of Friday morning has several significant healthcare provisions. Here's a rundown of the highlights.

The deal eliminated the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was a controversial part of Obamacare that was supposed to keep Medicare costs reined in. This is the "death panel", which never really existed, but got folks all riled up back in 2010.

Because Medicare spending never reached the level to trigger the convening of the IPAB, the deal has disbanded it before it came into existence. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says eliminating the panel will cost $17.5 billion over 10 years because no mechanism is in place to rein in spending, except…Congress.

The deal funds community health centers through 2019 at an increased level over 2017. Community health centers provide healthcare to approximately 27 million Americans, and are widely supported by both parties.

The deal extends funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for an additional four years. The last spending deal had already funded it for six years, which means now CHIP is funded for a decade. According to the CBO, this means it will actually more than pay for itself in cost savings to the government via other programs.

The deal would provide relief to some Medicare beneficiaries with, according to the New York Times, "high prescription drug costs who hit a gap in coverage… Drug manufacturers would be required to give larger discounts to beneficiaries in the coverage gap, starting in 2019." To help pay for this, the bill reapportions some funds set aside for public health initiatives around diseases like diabetes.

The deal would raise Medicare premium costs for high income recipients (incomes over $500,000 or $750,000 for a couple filing jointly). It also cuts off Medicaid to lottery winners.

What do you think?

Do you support these measures? Maybe you support some and not others? If so, what do you think is constructive here, and what is not?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: thebluediamondgallery.com / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(32)
  • Kmason
    02/10/2018
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    Maybe I’m just stupid, but for the life of me I don’t understand why you would eliminate the IPAB panel when doing so will cost taxpayers $17.5 billion over the next 10 years! What is the benefit of doing this? Other than the fact that it was created by Obamacare to keep Medicare costs down. To my knowledge, the panel doesn’t actually exist yet because Medicare costs have not yet reached the specified level to convene. So at great expense to the American people you have effectively eliminated something that doesn’t actually exist except on paper! Can you really call yourself fiscally responsible doing insane stuff like this? For no other reason than you are angry that the Democrats under the leadership of President Obama were actually successful, with no help from you, in accomplishing the nearly impossible task of reigning in runaway medical costs and insuring millions more Americans than would otherwise be insured. Maybe if you guys would have done your job by being part of the solution rather than being a major obstacle back then things would have never spiraled so out of control. What you are doing by killing off Obamacare piece by piece is very irresponsible and dangerous to the people and the entire Medical industry because you do not consider what the consequences are going to be and worse yet you seem to not care. Doctors take an oath to “do no harm “ I believe legislators should be held to that simple principle as well. Stop doing harm!

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  • Clint
    02/09/2018
    ···

    There is nothing more important to this country at the moment than our president. What I want to know is what are you planning on doing to protect this country and it’s people from literally everything he does. I could give you a huge list but it’s been done. You’re all grown men. You know what’s happening. So you either agree with it or your scared. So I say this to you all. Man up or we find someone else who will.

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  • Jerry
    02/09/2018
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    These actions sound reasonable to me but I wonder what else is included in the bill that we are not aware of at this point.

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  • William
    02/10/2018
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    Senators and representatives: please stop this INSANITY and get this total MORON out of the White House who is a FASCIST and is DESTROYING our democracy!!!!!!

    Like (19)
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  • millenialprogressive
    02/10/2018
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    For me, the main sticking point of this bill is the disbanding of the board meant to reign in the costs of Medicare. Premiums are rising, and we should have a body capable of agile action to prevent exorbitant out of pocket expenditure increases. The other components concerning healthcare seem like good ideas to me.

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  • Donna
    02/10/2018
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    i didn't think I would live long enough to watch self-government function in this country again. This is called compromise, a concept foreign to most members of Congress. I certainly hope they don't expect praise or acknowledgement for simply doing their job.

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  • Justin
    02/10/2018
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    If Bernie had won we could have had single payer & free community college instead of giving 85% of the tax breaks to the top 1% but at least everyone would have benefited ! But less we forget that we could not afford !

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  • James
    02/10/2018
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    This deal warmed my heart, and I would love to see compromises like this on a regular basis! Centrism is the only way forward that makes any sense.

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  • millenialprogressive
    02/10/2018
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    As if Congress could reign in the costs of Medicare...they're too ineffective.

    Like (8)
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  • Sheryl
    02/11/2018
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    I will vote for the next person who runs on being ‘the adult in the room’. Neither party currently has the fortitude to balance the budget by making tough choices that may alienate some constituents.

    Like (7)
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  • Gail
    02/10/2018
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    WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET TRUMP OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE?? We have a president who DOES NOT READ his daily briefs instead he relies on FOX NEWS to tell him how to run this COUNTRY! This is INSANE! And the RUSSIA INVESTIGATION? There must be something absolutely OUTRAGEOUSLY Incriminating for Trump, Devin Nunes & FOX News to be turning over every ROCK to find a way to scuttle it! Every Republican who helps to stop this investigation is COMPLICIT!! Oh how I wish the ELECTION was sooner than November!!

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  • Claudia
    02/10/2018
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    People who make +$500k are eligible for Medicare? Why?

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  • Aaron
    02/10/2018
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    I am pleased with the additional CHIP funding and community health centers.

    Like (6)
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  • JayinNC
    02/10/2018
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    Build healthcare not bombs really $700 BILLION dollars on defense????

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  • Mike
    02/09/2018
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    This is what our Congress is supposed to do. Everyone didn’t get exactly what they wanted (Tea Party deficit hawks, Liberal DREAMer protectors). But it was a good deal and moved the Congress forward without facing a shutdown in a few months.

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  • Beverly
    02/10/2018
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    Don't disband a nonexistent committee that will cost us millions just because the other guy started it. Silly.

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  • Jennifer
    02/10/2018
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    I support these measures. Wow. Something that sounds positive and reasonable...

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  • Andrew
    02/09/2018
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    I would advice, to my earlier comment, to now stabilize the budget to 2017 budget plus 4% for growth for the 2018 budget. The issue of military spending needs to be only to replenish the exhausted military supplies. We also have to draw down on the three front war. This is hurting America. Then on Domestic spending, we need to tie the spending to inflation and start to develop a means testing for domestic programs. I am willing to do that in order to help curve costs. We also have to place caps on Medicare and Drugs spending. We need to allow for medicinal marijuana to take hold and tax to offset other drug costs. We also need to limit Border Security spending to only those activities that are planned and presented to the Congress for review and approval. No funding for Border Wall. Immigration legislation needs to be worked and approved and agree to allow the 1.8 million apply for green cards and then impose a 1 time tax of $500 per person to offset costs to process and then allow them to queue behind those already in line for citizenship. Thanks.

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  • Mary ann
    02/10/2018
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    All of this sounds good with the exception of funding CHIPS for an additional 4 years. Since rhe last spending bill extended coverage for CHIPS for another 6 years, lets leave it at that.. there’s no need to get ahead of ourselves.

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  • B
    02/10/2018
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    So the Koch brothers are spending 500 million dollars on the next election because they get a billion dollars more in tax cuts. Therefore, I will not be voting for someone who has lots of tv ads. One example is concerned veterans for America aka Koch brothers.

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