CBO projects 35-percent drop in Medicaid spending by 2036 under Senate GOP health bill

Senate Democrats asked the office to produce an additional analysis on the bill

ByAdam Kelsey and Arlette Saenz
June 29, 2017, 6:29 PM

— -- The Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicaid spending under the proposed Republican Senate health care bill would be 35 percent lower than under the current law by 2036.

The finding came in an additional analysis, requested by Democrats, released Thursday following Monday's comprehensive review of the plan.

Earlier in the week, the CBO reported that Medicaid spending by 2026 would be 26 percent lower than current projections. Senate Democrats asked the office to produce the analysis of the long-term impact of the GOP bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, as scrutiny of the plan's impact on Medicaid intensified.

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that "Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid [cuts] under [the] new Senate bill," and that spending "actually goes up."

Trump's data only compared spending under the BCRA over the next ten years to the current level of Medicaid spending, however. While there would be increases under the Republican plan when compared to 2017, the increases are less than the those that would come under the current law.

Looking further ahead to 2036 in CBO's Thursday analysis, the gap between Medicaid spending under the current law and BCRA Medicaid spending grows, though the office notes that "beyond the coming decade ... projecting federal spending on Medicaid becomes increasingly difficult because of the considerable uncertainties involved."

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