Skip to comments.Reality Doesn’t Match Rhetoric on Low-Income Program Spending
Posted on 01/15/2013 7:43:34 AM PST by ksen
Under the current administration, we have . . . seen an explosion in the spending for welfare programs, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed in support of a new, House-passed rule requiring the annual budget resolution to detail past and projected growth of entitlement programs and propose reforms to them. The rule will allow us to begin to responsibly control the growth of these welfare programs and ensure they can help those who need them most, he argued.
But, Rep. Cantors statement ignores two key facts:
■First, safety net programs are not a primary cause of the nations long-term budget problems. Almost all of the recent growth in low-income entitlement programs is due either to the recent recession and is therefore temporary or to rising costs throughout the U.S. health care system, which affect costs for both private insurance and public health programs like Medicaid.
■Second, federal spending on low-income entitlement programs other than health care will shrink significantly as a share of the economy after 2013 (see graph), according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
To be sure, Medicaid is projected to continue growing as a share of the economy, as costs continue to rise across the public and private health care sectors. But Medicaid isnt the cause of this system-wide cost growth. In fact, per-beneficiary costs have risen more slowly in Medicaid than in private insurance and are expected to continue doing so.
Ultimately, we will need to find ways to reduce health care cost growth in both the public and private sectors. Cost growth has slowed in the past few years, though it is unclear whether the change is temporary or here to stay. Thanks to health reform, however, we are testing new ways to deliver health care designed to lower costs while improving the quality of care that could help slow costs throughout the U.S. health care system over the long run.
The new House rule requires the budget resolution to track growth over the previous decade and the projected growth in the years covered by the budget resolution (often a decade) of two groups of entitlement programs: those focused on low-income people, such as SNAP and Medicaid, and those not just focused on low-income people, such as Medicare and Social Security.
The rule may obscure more than it illuminates: CBO projects that low-income entitlements including health care will grow both in inflation-adjusted dollars and as a share of the economy in coming years; but if you remove health care costs, the picture is entirely different, with low-income entitlements outside health care falling over the next decade as a share of the economy and in inflation-adjusted terms.
If the data that the new House rule requires obfuscate this fact, then the rule could be misused to bolster the false claim that low-income entitlement programs are out of control.
Riiiight. So instead we will take them off those programs and slide them into a more permanent program like SSI perm. Disability. /s
That program exploded by 10 Million in the past 4 years!
No, economic growth is also a solution to our budget woes. The major reason we have budget woes right now is our depressed economy and cutting programs that puts cash into the hands of people that will spend it will not help it recover any quicker and may slow down the recovery more right now.
Uh yeah...as a matter of fact it is. And cutting corporate welfare AND stopping baseline budgeting AND AND And. Its all gotta be on the table.
Funny how the author goes out of their way to mumble about cutting healthcare costs...zerocare was supposed to do all that ;;;the damn liars.
Wow. I had no idea Nancy Pelosi joined FR.
The time has passed for us to keep forking-over more and more money. We're broke.
We're broke, and you are wondering, "what about the kids?"
Sorry Mr. Cantor - said welfare programs have been under the "controlled growth" meme for decades and there is no such thing in today's world. If they want to do away with poverty, in as much as possible, they need to reach back and take Ben Franklin's advice and make welfare an uncomfortable condition and a a royal pain in the ass method of subsisting.
Obviously buying 2% GDP growth with a budget deficit of 10% of GDP is the way to go. LOL!
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